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ACT Launches ACT Tessera to Assess Students’ Social and Emotional Learning Skills

Assessing Readiness for Education and Workplace Success Requires More Than Measuring Academic Skills

IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT today announced the launch of ACT Tessera™, a comprehensive next-generation assessment system designed to measure social and emotional learning (SEL) skills. The new system will provide assessments for middle and high school students (grades 6-12), as well as actionable lesson plans for teachers looking to integrate SEL into their classrooms.

A growing number of research studies—including ACT’s own research—have confirmed that SEL skills, sometimes known as behavioral or noncognitive skills, are essential for success in education and career.

“ACT is committed to a holistic approach to measuring student readiness for success in college and career, and that is why we are launching ACT Tessera,” said ACT Chief Commercial Officer Suzana Delanghe. “SEL skills are important, are measurable and can be enhanced through evidence-based strategies. ACT Tessera will provide insights on SEL skills to students, parents and educators that will help students succeed.”

Based on the research-validated and widely adopted SEL factors, ACT Tessera measures six areas:
  • Tenacity/Grit
  • Composure/Resilience
  • Organization/Responsibility
  • Curiosity/Ingenuity
  • Teamwork/Cooperation
  • Leadership/Communication Style

“Research shows teachers believe programs in SEL are essential and investing in SEL programs can result in major long-term and economic benefits for society,” said ACT Vice President and Chief Scientist Rich Roberts. “ACT Tessera not only helps measure SEL skills, it delivers a Teacher Playbook with activities designed to help students develop and improve.”

A recently released research report from ACT confirmed the importance of SEL skills. The Importance of Behavioral Skills and Navigation Factors for Education and Work reported that both education and workforce professionals believe that these skills are critical for lifelong success.

The study examined survey responses from school teachers, college instructors and workforce supervisors across the nation regarding the importance of social and emotional learning skills.

Key findings included the following:
  • Behavioral skills are rated important in preparing students for college and workplace success by more than 80 percent of K-12 teachers, postsecondary instructors and workforce supervisors. 
  • Behavioral skills are interpersonal, self-regulatory and task-related behaviors such as acting honestly, getting along with others, keeping an open mind, maintaining composure, socializing with others and sustaining efforts.
  • Navigation factors are viewed as important by nine in ten K-12 teachers and by around two-thirds of postsecondary instructors and workforce supervisors. 

Navigation factors are defined as personal characteristics, processes and knowledge that influence people as they journey along their education and career paths, including self-knowledge, environmental factors, integration and managing career and education actions.

ACT Tessera, along with other ACT assessments solutions, align with the ACT® Holistic Framework™. The Holistic Framework is a comprehensive, research-based framework that includes core academic skills, cross-cutting capabilities, behavioral skills and navigation factors across critical transitions that are considered essential for achieving education and career success.

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a national leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career.

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