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ACTNext Awarded Grant to Explore Ways to Enhance Student Engagement on NAEP

IOWA CITY, Iowa—ACTNext™, the multidisciplinary innovation arm of ACT, Inc., today announced it has been awarded a cooperative agreement grant to explore and enhance student engagement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

ACTNext/ACT assessment developers, psychometricians and researchers will work in cooperation with the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), American Institutes for Research (AIR) and RTI International on this one-year project.

“We are very honored by the trust placed in us by NAEP to help accomplish this important goal,” said Alina von Davier, ACT senior vice president for ACTNext.

The research team will be investigating the NAEP 8th grade Science and Technology and Engineering Literacy assessments to determine whether there are particular types of tasks and items that are challenging for engagement in students. The research team will then develop engagement-enhanced features closely modeled on the most recent NAEP test, followed by an evaluation of the effects of these features on students’ engagement and performance.

Yigal Rosen, senior director of learning solutions at ACTNext, will be the research program director for the team. He will be aided by Vanessa Simmering, senior research scientist at ACTNext, in leading the project.

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Grounded in 60 years of research, ACT is a trusted leader in college and career readiness solutions. Each year, ACT serves millions of students, job seekers, schools, government agencies and employers in the US and around the world with learning resources, assessments, research and credentials designed to help them succeed from elementary school through career. To learn more, visit

About ACTNext

The ACTNext research team, comprised of leaders working on innovative solutions that advance individuals throughout their lifetimes, is passionate about making a difference. ACTNext integrates interdisciplinary research in computational psychometrics, machine learning, and multimodal analytics to deliver innovative learning and assessment systems to help people and organizations worldwide achieve education and workplace success.

About NAEP

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only assessment that measures what U.S. students know and can do in various subjects across the nation, states, and in some urban districts. Also known as The Nation’s Report Card, NAEP has provided important information about how students are performing academically since 1969. NAEP is a congressionally mandated project administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

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