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ACT to Launch Pilot Program Providing Free Breakfast before ACT Test

ACT announced today a new initiative to combat food insecurity and improve student ACT test outcomes by launching a pilot program that provides a free breakfast to students at five ACT test centers in Virginia.

Students taking the ACT in Eastville, Harrisonburg, Martinsville, Springfield and Tazewell, Virginia on the ACT national test date this Saturday, Oct. 27, will be offered a free healthy breakfast before the test.

ACT and Virginia’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a federally funded program administered by the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition Program, are partnering to pilot this initiative, drawing on research demonstrating that students who are hungry—particularly those who have missed breakfast—have poorer cognitive performance, especially when testing.

ACT research indicates that there is a positive relationship between having breakfast and subsequent ACT test performance. Students who took the ACT twice and reported having breakfast before both the first and second tests experienced larger average ACT composite score gains (1.1 points) than students who reported not having breakfast on either occasion (0.7 point).

The pilot breakfast program is the first step in a planned long-term initiative to help the country’s most underserved students access a nutritional breakfast before taking the ACT exam..

“This pilot is a perfect fit with our longstanding mission to help people achieve education and workplace success, and we are thrilled to be able to help turn this idea into reality,” said Scott Montgomery, ACT senior vice president of state and federal programs. “We hope to expand the program next year.”

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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 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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