ACT History | The evolution and history of the ACT and SAT

ACT History – The evolution of the ACT

As the parent of a high school student, you’re likely familiar with the ACT. However, you may be less familiar with the history of this test and how it has come to play such a prominent role in the college admissions process.

ACT History

Prior to 1959, the SAT was the only national, standardized college entrance test.   As more and more students began to consider and pursue higher education options, and as more and more universities sought to increase their enrollment numbers, the need for another standardized college entrance exam emerged.  The American College Testing Program (now known simply as the A-C-T) was created in 1959 to address that need. Since its inception, the ACT has expanded its programs and services, offering assessment and training services that extend beyond the college entrance process.

Starting with the February 2005 test date, the ACT added an optional Writing section to its standard format. The College Board’s decision to include an essay portion on the SAT likely prompted this change.

According to the ACT’s 2009 Profile Report, 45% of the 2009 high school graduating class (over 1.4 million students) took the ACT.  Additionally, several states, including Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan, administer the ACT to high school juniors as part of their required state tests.  All four-year colleges and universities in the US now accept ACT scores, making the ACT an appealing option for students who struggle with tests like the SAT.

Related Topics

StudyPoint is a national leader in one-to-one, in-home test prep and academic tutoring. The test-taking techniques and strategies taught in our SAT tutoring and ACT tutoring programs enable students to earn higher test scores and gain admissions to competitive colleges and universities. Our expert subject tutors and personalized lesson plans help students earn better grades and become happier, more confident students. Whether you’re looking for a math tutor or any other type of academic tutoring, StudyPoint can help. To learn about tutoring programs in your area, feel free to contact us for more information.


SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product. ACT® is the registered trademark of ACT, Inc. StudyPoint has no affiliation with ACT, Inc., which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product. PSAT/NMSQT® is a trademark jointly owned by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which were not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product. All test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with StudyPoint or this website.

Ready to Enroll? Call 1-87STUDYPOINT (1-877-883-9764) Find a tutor in your area