Juneau Releases Results of No-Cost ACT Testing for High School Juniors

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
By Allyson Hagen

Juneau Releases Results of No-Cost ACT Testing for High School Juniors
Hundreds of Additional Students Demonstrating College-Readiness

(Helena, MT) More than 9,000 public school juniors took the ACT Plus Writing test this spring at no cost to their families, thanks to a partnership between the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education's (OCHE's) Montana GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program). This partnership resulted in 2,870 more students taking the ACT than the graduating class of 2013.

The results of the statewide ACT testing of all public school juniors include: 840 more students qualified for the Governor’s “Best and Brightest” scholarship, 520 more students are eligible for full admission into one of Montana’s four-year colleges, and 754 more students are eligible for provisional admission into a four-year college than the class of 2013.

Said Superintendent Denise Juneau, "Providing access to the ACT for every junior is already opening doors to new opportunities for Montana students. Hundreds of students have received scores on the ACT that provide them with the opportunity to explore careers and educational programs they may have never considered.”

In 2011, OCHE was awarded a seven-year, $28 million GEAR UP grant, a portion of which is covering the cost of every public high school junior in Montana having access to the ACT Plus Writing test for the next five years.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian said the Montana University System is committed to increasing the number of college degrees and completions in Montana.

"We are extremely pleased to learn that the ACT test results revealed more high school students are prepared and ready to enroll in college,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian. “This is good news for the Montana University System and the state’s economy that depends upon an educated workforce.  We look forward to seeing more students attend one of our many great campuses after graduation.”

Christian said GEAR UP encourages and supports students to set high academic expectations, stay in school, study hard and take appropriate courses to prepare for college level studies.

Other states in the region have implemented statewide ACT testing for every junior, including Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota. Over time, states have found that more males, minority students, middle and lower-income students and first-generation students took the ACT and had the ability to assess their college-readiness. In addition, more minority and low-income students enrolled in college. For some students who didn't think about higher education as a possibility, taking the ACT made them aware of their potential for success in college.

"We need to continue to break down the barriers Montana students face when they are considering whether to enroll in higher education," said Superintendent Juneau. “Providing this opportunity to every student is going to translate into more students pursuing higher education, which improves the earning power of individuals and supports the economic future of Montana communities.”

Among Montana’s 2013 high school graduates, 72 percent – a total of 6,631—of high school graduates took the ACT. In the spring of 2013, 9,020 public school juniors took the ACT plus writing at no cost to their families. The average composite score of juniors who took the ACT was 20.1. Providing the ACT at no cost is a key strategy of Superintendent Juneau’s Graduation Matters Montana effort to graduate students who are prepared for college and careers.

More information on the results of Montana’s 2013 ACT for All testing can be found here:

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam. It tests what students have actually learned in school, not their aptitude for learning. The ACT also measures what students need to know to be ready for first year credit-bearing college courses based on ACT College Readiness Standards. Every student's results can be tied directly to these consistent standards.

The cost for the ACT test without writing is $34. When combined with the optional ACT Writing Test, the total cost is $49.50. The cost for ACT Plus Writing in Montana is $47.50 per student.

A case study on the impact of statewide ACT testing in Illinois and Colorado can be found at:



Back to Media Center Home Page