A new digital tool to test academic and behavioral skills will target students starting in kindergarten.
ACT, the organization that developed the ACT college-entrance exam, will start testing the tool in the fall. It will be available to schools starting in 2014. The tool tracks students' career interests, academic performance and progress toward goals.
One interesting element: The Associated Press said the assessment system will combine traditional testing with teacher-led projects to generate a digital score. That might allow broad comparison with a student's peers.
ACT said in a news release on Monday that the tool is part of a "'next-generation' system" that will attempt to provide a measure of a student's performance from early elementary school through high school.
Jon Erickson, president of ACT's education division, said the goal is to identify and address gaps in skills needed for college and the workforce.
Schools won't be compelled to use the new tool, but Erickson said he anticipates that entire states or groups of states will choose to utilize it. ACT said the tool can be customized to include state-specific benchmarks and other performance measures.
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