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About the data - ACT Aspire™

Overview | Scoring | Cautions | Using the Performance Dashboards | Definitions | FAQ | Useful Links


ACT Aspire™ Early High School assesses student readiness in English, mathematics, reading, science, and writing. ACT Aspire is an online assessment in Wisconsin except for students who require accommodations through Braille, Large Print or American Sign Language who will take ACT Aspire™ in a paper and pencil format.

ACT Aspire™ is linked to ACT® College Readiness Benchmarks. ACT Aspire™ consists of multiple question types: constructed response, selected response and technology-enhanced.

Where to Find Data about The ACT Aspire™
School Years  WISEdash   School District Performance Report   WINSS Historical Data Files 
Beginning with 2015-16 X -- --


Subject Scores

  • ACT Aspire™ results are reported on a 3-digit score scale for English, reading, mathematics and science.
  • 3-digit scores are compared to ACT® Readiness Benchmarks for English, reading, mathematics and science to determine whether or not students are on track to meet college-ready benchmarks on the ACT®. Students that are reported as “Exceeding” or “Ready” have met the ACT® Readiness Benchmark for a subject while students that are reported as “Close” or “In Need of Support” have not met the ACT® Readiness Benchmark for a subject.
  • The ACT subject score readiness benchmark values are shown in the table below. Students who score at this level or above are considered “ready.” Note that these values were obtained using spring performance, meaning that scores for students who test in the fall are compared to a spring benchmark. Therefore, performance relative to the benchmark is an indication of what a student still needs to learn in order to be “ready” by the end of the year. Values for all categories can be found in Table 2 in the ACT Aspire™ Interpretive Guide for ACT Aspire Summative Reports.

ACT Aspire Readiness Benchmarks

Tested Grade

English Reading Mathematics Science
9 426 425 428 430
10 428 428 432 432


  • The ACT Aspire™ dashboards only display results of students in grades 9 and 10 who completed the ACT Aspire™. Students in these grades who did not complete ACT Aspire™ (parent opt outs, students who tested with Dynamic Learning Maps, etc.) are not included.

Using the Performance Dashboards to Improve Learning

Timely and meaningful assessment information about student performance allows:

  • teachers to target instruction to individual student needs,
  • students to better target their own efforts,
  • administrators to more fully understand what students know and are able to do, and to guide curriculum and professional development decisions, and
  • parents to understand what their child knows and is able to do in ELA, mathematics and science.

When used in combination with multiple measures of achievement, such as classroom observations and teacher-developed tests, the ACT Aspire™ provides information about the progress of groups of students as well as the effectiveness of educational programs. No single test can tell us whether students have learned everything that is important to learn.

The readiness graphs allow users to compare the percentage of students who are performing at each readiness level within a school, district or statewide. Similarly, using the available grouping, users can compare the percentage of students in a specific demographic group who are performing at the Ready or Exceeding categories in each school within the district. If, for any group, the percentage of students tested is low, users should not use the readiness level percentages to reach conclusions about the performance of that group.

The scale score graphs provide information about the distribution of average scale scores within and across student groups. By using the filters, educators can compare the average scale scores for student groups between schools. Wide score distributions or low scores provide evidence of wide achievement gaps and/or low achievement.


  • Close: Students in the Close category scored below but near the ACT® Readiness Benchmark, considering the measurement error.
  • Exceeding: Students in the Exceeding category scored substantially above the benchmark and have a much higher chance to be college and career ready.
  • In Need of Support: Students in the In Need of Support category performed substantially below the ACT® Readiness Benchmark.
  • Ready: Students in the Ready category have met the ACT® Readiness Benchmark and are on target for 50% or higher likelihood of college course success by grade 11.

Frequently Asked Questions about ACT Aspire™ Data

1. Is FAY (Full Academic Year) used in the ACT Aspire™ dashboards? If so, where can I find FAY and non-FAY? 

School level reporting is FAY in the School, District is FAY in the District, Statewide is combined FAY and non-FAY. See Glossary for the definition of FAY.

2. Why is FAY used? 

Including only FAY students in district and school summaries provides one indicator of how successful a district or school community has been in meeting the academic needs of students in tested grades up to the time of testing. Students in grade 11 who have been enrolled for a FAY are students who were enrolled in the same district or school since the beginning of the school year.

3. How are student group associations assigned for the certified data?  

  • Student group associations (e.g. race/ethnicity etc.) are assigned based on a static snapshot of student attributes from the data warehouse taken at about the time of testing. District/school assignments are based on the district/school accountable for each student’s education.

Useful Links

More About the Data

Data Tools and Reports

(All links below include results of The ACT.)