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ACT Introduces Recommendations and Diagnostics (RAD) Engine, a Breakthrough in Personalized Learning

IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACT, the nonprofit learning, measurement and navigation organization behind the ACT® test, today announced a breakthrough software capability designed to guide students to education resources that address their individual learning needs.

The Recommendations and Diagnostics (RAD) engine, delivered through an application programming interface (API), was recently integrated into ACT Academy™, ACT’s free online learning tool. ACT Academy helps students improve their academic skills by giving them access to the world’s leading collection of online learning resources. Each student receives a personalized study plan, based on ACT Academy’s diagnostics or scores on the ACT test, PreACT® or an official ACT practice test.

As students take quizzes or tests on ACT Academy, RAD continuously tracks their mastery of specific academic skills. Then, based upon the results, it recommends education resources—including lessons, videos, games and other content—that address key skills the student has not yet mastered. It’s all done in real time.

RAD was developed by ACTNext™, ACT’s multidisciplinary innovation unit, using the principles of computational psychometrics (AI-based algorithms fused with psychometric theory).

“The RAD engine makes it easy for students to identify their own particular academic deficiencies and address them,” said Alina von Davier, senior vice president of ACTNext. “It’s the first of its kind, and it’s a huge step in providing students with personalized learning, one of ACT’s key goals as it transforms into a learning, measurement and navigation organization.”

While ACT Academy is the first online learning platform to integrate the power of the RAD engine, it will not be the last. ACT envisions many more potential uses of the capability in the future. RAD can be integrated into any system that has a set of learning standards underlying its instructional content and it was developed in such a way to make it adaptable by assessment and learning programs with ease and efficiency.

For example, in addition to ACT Academy and the ACT® Holistic Framework® , the RAD engine may interface with other measurement resources based on skills hierarchies, such as specific state learning standards, Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards.

ACT is also partnering with Smart Sparrow - a courseware design platform provider - in order to deliver RAD in an easy-to-configure way to thousands of courseware design teams worldwide.

Since its launch earlier this year, ACT Academy has helped more than 170,000 students improve their readiness for college and career for free. The Academy provides students with access to a huge collection of videos, interactives and quizzes designed to increase learning and prepare them for success on the ACT test and in college and career.

With the addition of the RAD engine to ACT Academy, ACT now provides students with the industry’s leading personalized learning experience.

More information about the RAD engine can be found on the ACTNext website.

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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 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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