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    About the ACT College Admissions Test

    The ACT College Admissions Assessment will be given to every 11th grader and is part of North Carolina's school accountability program.  ACT test results are widely accepted by college admissions offices and considered an accurate gauge of classroom achievement.  ACT results may be used at the high school level to identify students who need assistance with certain subject areas or academic skills, evaluate effectiveness of instruction, and make adjustments to curriculum to improve instruction.  Colleges use the ACT for admissions decisions, course placement, academic advising and loans and scholarships.  ACT offers a dedicated website for NC that is specifically related to our administration of the ACT.
    About the ACT Mathematics Test
    The ACT mathematics test is a 60-question, 60-minute test designed to assess the mathematical skills students have typically acquired in courses taken up to the beginning of grade 12. 

    The test presents multiple-choice questions that require you to use reasoning skills to solve practical problems in mathematics. Some questions may belong to a set of several questions (e.g., several questions about the same graph or chart). 

    Knowledge of basic formulas and computational skills are assumed as background for the problems, but recall of complex formulas and extensive computation is not required. 

    NOTE: You may use a calculator on the mathematics test. See ACT's calculator policy for details about permitted and prohibited calculators. If you use a prohibited calculator, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. You are not required to use a calculator. All of the mathematics problems can be solved without using a calculator. 

    Math Content on the ACT
    Content Covered by the ACT Mathematics Test 
    In the mathematics test, three subscores are based on six content areas: pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry. 

    Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra
    • Pre-Algebra (20-25%):  Questions in this content area are based on basic operations using whole numbers, decimals, fractions, and integers; place value; square roots and approximations; the concept of exponents; scientific notation; factors; ratio, proportion, and percent; linear equations in one variable; absolute value and ordering numbers by value; elementary counting techniques and simple probability; data collection, representation, and interpretation; and understanding simple descriptive statistics. 
    • Elementary Algebra (15-20%):  Questions in this content area are based on properties of exponents and square roots, evaluation of algebraic expressions through substitution, using variables to express functional relationships, understanding algebraic operations, and the solution of quadratic equations by factoring. 
    Intermediate Algebra/Coordinate Geometry 
    • Intermediate Algebra (15-20%):  Questions in this content area are based on an understanding of the quadratic formula, rational and radical expressions, absolute value equations and inequalities, sequences and patterns, systems of equations, quadratic inequalities, functions, modeling, matrices, roots of polynomials, and complex numbers. 
    • Coordinate Geometry (15-20%):  Questions in this content area are based on graphing and the relations between equations and graphs, including points, lines, polynomials, circles, and other curves; graphing inequalities; slope; parallel and perpendicular lines; distance; midpoints; and conics. 
    Plane Geometry/Trigonometry 
    • Plane Geometry (20-25%):  Questions in this content area are based on the properties and relations of plane figures, including angles and relations among perpendicular and parallel lines; properties of circles, triangles, rectangles, parallelograms, and trapezoids; transformations; the concept of proof and proof techniques; volume; and applications of geometry to three dimensions. 
    • Trigonometry (5-10%):  Questions in this content area are based on understanding trigonometric relations in right triangles; values and properties of trigonometric functions; graphing trigonometric functions; modeling using trigonometric functions; use of trigonometric identities; and solving trigonometric equations.
    ACT Math Practice Questions Website 
    Math Sample Questions Set 1
    Math Sample Questions Set 2
    Math Sample Questions Set 3
    Math Sample Questions Set 4
    Math Sample Questions Set 5
    What are the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks?
    The ACT College Readiness Benchmarks are the minimum ACT® college readiness assessment scores required for students to have a high probability of success in credit-bearing college courses—English Composition, social sciences courses, College Algebra, or Biology. In addition to the benchmarks for the ACT, there are corresponding benchmarks for ACT Explore®, taken in eighth and/or ninth grades, and ACT Plan®, taken in tenth grade, to gauge student progress in becoming ready for college. And for students taking ACT Compass®, a computer adaptive course placement assessment used by colleges, we have identified the College Readiness Benchmarks on the ACT Compass scale corresponding to success in credit-bearing community college courses.

    Why these courses?
    English Composition, College Algebra, and Biology are the first credit-bearing courses most commonly taken by first-year college students. Course placement data also show that reading achievement is most closely aligned with success in credit-bearing social sciences courses in college.
    College Course  ACT 
    Test Area 
    Explore-gr8   Explore-gr9  ACT Plan  ACT Test ACT Compass 
     English Composition  English    13    14  15   18    77*
     Social Sciences  Reading    16    17  18   22    89*
     College Algebra  Mathematics    17    18  19   22    52*
     Biology  Science    18    19  20   23    NA*
       * The ACT Compass English Benchmark refers to the ACT Compass Writing Skills Test.
          The ACT Compass Mathematics Benchmark refers to the ACT Compass Algebra Test.
          ACT Compass does not contain a science test.

    How can institutions benefit from using the Benchmarks?
    • Colleges can use the Benchmarks for the ACT as one among several criteria for admission or as a foundation for determining course placement scores.
    • Middle schools and high schools can use the Benchmarks for ACT Explore and ACT Plan as a means of evaluating students’ early progress toward college readiness so that timely 
      interventions can be made when necessary, or as an educational counseling or career planning tool. 
    • Colleges (especially two-year institutions) can use the Benchmarks for ACT Compass to help in efficiently assigning walk-in students to the proper courses and to diagnose student remediation needs. 
    • In all the above cases, the Benchmarks offer users a concise, reliable method of articulating postsecondary expectations to middle schools and high schools so that timely interventions can be made.
    North Carolina specific ACT Website  
    North Carolina School & Test Administrator Resources for ACT
    State Overview Testing PowerPoint -- July 31, 2012
    Click here to view PowerPoint presentation
    ACT presenters:
    • EXPLORE/PLAN – Carol Clark
    • ACT – Linda Manary and Cassie Rochholz
    • WorkKeys – Fred McConnel 
    ACT Frequently Asked Questions -- September 2012
    ACT Test Prep
    North Carolina Department of Instruction ACT and ACT WorkKeys Information
    The ACT College Admissions Assessment is given to all students in the 11th grade and the ACT WorkKeys assessment is administered to seniors who are Career and Technical Education (CTE) concentrators.  Beginning in 2012-13, The ACT and the ACT WorkKeys became part of North Carolina’s school accountability program.
    In order to support student success on The ACT, North Carolina administers the ACT Explore assessment at 8th grade and the ACT Plan assessment at 10th grade. ACT Explore and ACT Plan are diagnostic assessments that are predictors to future performance on The ACT. They also provide information to help parents, teachers, and students determine future goals.
    NCDPI ACT and PLAN FAQ Sheet -- November 2011

    ACT Calculator Policy 
    Can I use a calculator? 
    The ACT Calculator Policy (effective September 1, 2014) The ACT calculator policy is designed to ensure fairness for all examinees, avoid disturbances in the testing room, and protect the security of the test materials. 
    • A permitted calculator may be used on the ACT mathematics test only. 
    • It is the examinee’s responsibility to know whether their calculator is permitted. 
    • Accessible calculators (such as audio/"talking," or braille calculators) may be allowed under the accessibility policies for the ACT® test. 
    The following types of calculators are prohibited: 
    • Calculators with built-in or downloaded computer algebra system functionality 
    Prohibited calculators in this category include:
    • Texas Instruments:
      • All model numbers that begin with TI-89 or TI-92 
      • TI-Nspire CAS—Note: The TI-Nspire (non-CAS) is permitted. 
    • Hewlett-Packard:
      • HP Prime 
      • HP 48GII 
      • All model numbers that begin with HP 40G, HP 49G, or HP 50G 
    • Casio:
      • fx-CP400 (ClassPad 400) 
      • ClassPad 300 
      • ClassPad 330 
      • Algebra fx 2.0 
      • All model numbers that begin with CFX-9970G 
    • Handheld, tablet, or laptop computers, including PDAs 
    • Electronic writing pads or pen-input devices—Note: The Sharp EL 9600 is permitted. 
    • Calculators built into cell phones or any other electronic communication devices 
    • Calculators with a typewriter keypad (letter keys in QWERTY format)—Note: Letter keys not in QWERTY format are permitted. 
    The following types of calculators are permitted, but only after they are modified as noted: 
    • Calculators that can hold programs or documents—remove all documents and remove all programs that have computer algebra system functionality. 
    • Calculators with paper tape—Remove the tape. 
    • Calculators that make noise—Turn off the sound. 
    • Calculators with an infrared data port—Completely cover the infrared data port with heavy opaque material such as duct tape or electrician’s tape (includes Hewlett-Packard HP 38G series, HP 39G series, and HP 48G). 
    • Calculators that have power cords—Remove all power/electrical cords. 
    • Examinees may bring any 4-function, scientific, or graphing calculator as long as it is a permitted calculator modified if needed as described above. 
    • In a computer based testing environment, an on-screen calculator may be provided. 
    • Sharing calculators during the test is not permitted, and the test proctor will not provide a calculator. 
    • Examinees are responsible for ensuring that their calculator works properly. If their calculator uses batteries, the batteries should be strong enough to last throughout the testing session. 
    • Examinees may bring a spare calculator and extra batteries.