Attend 2016 ACT State Organization Conference

2016 California ACT State Organization Conference 

The California Promise: Achieving Social Justice through College and Career Readiness


The 2016 California ACT State Organization Conference strives to bring education and career readiness professionals a broad range of topics that meet the diverse needs of preparing students for college and career success.

  • Learn about key education strategies that will foster positive change in your school, district, and throughout California
  • Learn about student success best practices used by other institutions
  • Network with other education and workforce professionals

View the agenda.

Early bird pricing is ending soon—save 25% by registering before Friday, December 18, 2016! The cost is $75 per person through Friday, December 18, 2016; $100 per person thereafter. Conference registration includes continental breakfast, breaks, lunch, and conference materials.


  • Friday, February 26, 2016
    7:30 AM – 4:00 PM
    Pacific Time


  • California State University, Fullerton
    Titan Student Union
    800 N. State College Blvd.
    Fullerton, California 92834-6828

Get Driving DirectionsGet Driving Directions

Fullerton Marriott at California State University
2701 Nutwood Avenue
Fullerton, California 92831

Request the ACT group rate of $139 per night, plus tax. Please click on this link to make your reservation.

Hotel Rate Deadline:
Thursday, January 28, 2016; thereafter, reservations will be taken on a space-available basis.


If you need assistance participating in this meeting or event due to a disability as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please email at least ten business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation.


SAT Redesigns Admissions Test, Drops Essay


Creators of the SAT exam announced plans Wednesday to toughen the test in the face of stagnant national scores, planning to challenge students to provide more analysis, cite evidence and even turn in their calculators before answering some math questions. The new version will be first administered in 2016.

“It is time for an admissions assessment that makes it clear that the road to success is not last-minute tricks or cramming but the challenging learning students do every day,” said David Coleman, president of the non-profit College Board, which produces the SAT, originally known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

Skeptics questioned whether a new format will be any more successful than previous efforts to use the standardized test in a campaign for college access, in part because the test’s scores historically have correlated with family income. They also point out that the 88-year-old SAT in recent years has slipped behind the rival ACT — a shorter exam with an optional essay — in total student customers.

Through the revisions, the College Board aims to strip many of the tricks out of a test now taken by more than 1.5 million students in each year’s graduating high school class. The College Board also pledged to offer new test-preparation tutorials for free online, enabling students to bypass pricey SAT-prep classes previously available mostly to affluent families looking to give their children an edge.

But in the redesign will be “SAT words” that have long prompted anxious students to cram with flashcards, as the test will now focus on vocabulary words that are widely used in college and career. The College Board hasn’t yet cited examples of words deemed too obscure, but “punctilious,” “phlegmatic” and “occlusion” are three tough ones in an official study guide.

Out, too, will be a much-reviled rule that deducts a quarter-point for each wrong answer to multiple-choice questions, deterring random guesses. Also gone: The 2400-point scale begun nine years ago with the debut of the required essay. The essay will become optional.

Back will be one of the iconic numbers of 20th-century America: The perfect SAT score, crystalline without a comma, returns to 1600.

Coleman, head of the College Board since fall 2012, previously was a key figure in the development of the new Common Core State Standards. Those standards, which set national expectations for what students should learn in math and English from kindergarten through 12th grade, have been fully adopted in 45 states and the District. Coleman’s vision for the SAT, with emphasis on analysis of texts from a range of disciplines as well as key math and language concepts, appears to echo the philosophy underlying the Common Core and could help the test track more closely with what students are learning in the nation’s classrooms.

Whether the College Board can break the link between test scores and economic class is the subject of much debate. Critics complained that too little time was given for essay revisions and that assignments did not reflect the level of analysis expected in college. Some college admissions officers also were lukewarm.

“As a predictor of student success, a 25-minute essay isn’t going to tell us a great deal,” said Stephen J. Handel, associate vice president of undergraduate admissions for the University of California.

And in recent years, more and more students were gravitating toward the rival ACT exam. The SAT has long been dominant on the West Coast, in the Northeast and in the Washington region. The ACT, launched in 1959 and overseen by an organization based in Iowa, attracts more students in the middle of the country and the South.

The two tests overlap in mission but diverge in style and content, with the ACT traditionally measuring achievement (including a science section) and the SAT measuring thinking skills. But the ACT has made inroads on the SAT’s turf, and many students now take both. In 2012, the ACT surpassed the SAT in the number of reported test-takers.

ACT President Jon L. Erickson said he was “a little underwhelmed” by the College Board’s announcement. “I appreciate and I’m glad they’re fixing their acknowledged flaws in their test,” he said.

Both exams also are facing challenges from the growing test-optional movement. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing lists about 800 colleges and universities that admit a substantial number of undergraduates without requiring them to submit SAT or ACT scores.


Statewide Higher Education Tools Conference Announced

(click to enlarge)


California GEAR UP is pleased to invite you to attend ‘Effective Tools for Preparing Students for Access and Success in Higher Education.’ Presented by a statewide network of higher education organizations, the purpose of this conference is to begin the scalability process with respect to these resource tools and strategies with the following objectives in mind:

  • More secondary school and higher educational staff will be aware and knowledgeable of these resource tools
  • Secondary schools, Academic Preparation Program staff, and community organizations will adopt and adapt these tools to expand the efficacy and effectiveness of their college counseling with students.

Ultimately, the goal of this conference is that more students, particularly from African-American, Latino, Native American, and low-income communities, will be prepared for enrollment and success in college through the utilization of these resource tools. Members of these audiences are highly encouraged to attend: Secondary School Administrators, Counselors, and Teachers, Community Organization Staff, Guiding Secondary School Students on College Preparation, Academic Preparation Program Directors, Counselors, and Advisors, Outreach Officers from Higher Educational Institutions. 

Sponsors include:

ACT, Inc.

Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities

California Community Colleges

California Department of Education

California GEAR UP Program

California State University

College Access Foundation of California

California Education Round Table Intersegmental Coordinating Committee (ICC)

College Board

ScholarShare College Savings Plan

University of California

To register at no cost, please visit the ICC  Website.


More Minorities Taking ACT But Gaps Remain

Being widely reported across California, ACT has announced the scores of the graduating class of 2010.  While hispanic students showed an increase in college readiness, their scores continue to fall short of those necessary to be successful in college.

“A record number of California students took the ACT college readiness examination in 2010…While the percentage of ACT-tested California graduates who are ready for college coursework is higher compared to five years ago, the findings indicate that there are still too many high school graduates who are not ready to succeed in college-level work. The ACT results also provide further evidence of the achievement gap; a lower percentage of students who are African American or Latino are meeting the ACT’s college readiness benchmarks compared to students who are white or Asian.

“Preparing more students for success in college is key to ensuring that California’s economy remains strong in the global economy of the 21st century. These results tell us that we must continue to focus on implementing strategies that effectively prepare all students for success in college and the workforce.”

-California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell

The ethnic and racial patterns of the score report prompted renewed calls for extra attention to the needs of struggling students.

David Hawkins, the director of public policy and research for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, noted that the ACT results show modest progress toward one definition of career readiness, but that such definitions vary from one postsecondary program or institution to another. In gauging a student’s preparedness for higher education, he said, high school grades and coursework are also key indicators of his likelihood of future success. (from Education Week article)

While the California GEAR UP community strives to address the Achievement gap it takes a dedicated education community to make meaningful gains in scores such as the ACT.

The disconnect between secondary and postsecondary institutions lies at the heart of the problem: Many high-poverty public high schools lack the resources to prepare students for college reading and writing requirements; many colleges and universities, meanwhile, are unaccustomed to extending meaningful academic opportunities beyond their campuses.  In this way, low-income high schoolers are very often confronted by both the weakest bridge between high school and college and the widest gulf to cross.  (Education Week: Commentary “The Promise of Early College” by Stephen Tremaine)

What is your school, program, or community doing to address these gaps?

Agenda for National GEAR UP Day San Francisco Announced



Sponsored by California GEAR UP


September 17, 2009


1-pm-2pm       Horace Mann Students Arrive at Everett Middle School

  • Video viewing: “GEAR UP 10 Years” and NCCEP: 16 Summers
  •  Welcome Address from School Principals 
  •  Keynote Speaker: Rod Santos, San Francisco City College
  •  Mayor Gavin Newsom staff: Presentation to GEAR UP programs 
  • ACT-Explore student announcement 

2pm – 3pm      The College Experience: Student workshops

  • SF State student panelists
  • SF Ed Fund (translation)
  • Student QandA
  • *Raffle for Prizes and Gifts*


Ice Cream Social: Sponsored by California GEAR UP



San Francisco Unified School District GEAR UP
Everett and Horace Mann Middle School
San Francisco Promise
San Francisco City College
San Francisco State University
San Francisco Ed. Fund
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

Agenda for National GEAR UP Day Sacramento Announced


September 18, 2009 



A Collaborative Commitment to Close the Achievement Gap

8:00-8:10am   Morning Announcement: National GEAR UP Day

8:10-8:45am   Press Conference with Superintendent O’Connell

  • Opening Welcome: Principal McDonald
  • Recognize Special Guests
  • Remarks: Superintendent Steven Ladd
  • Remarks: Shelley Davis
  • The Valley-GEAR UP Collaborative
  • Presentation to Superintendent O’Connell
  • Family Speaker:  A School Community in Action
  • Student Speakers:  Beating the Odds at Valley

8:45-9:20 am  Campus Tour

  • Valley/GEAR UP Family Center
  • Valley Classroom Visitations

9:20-10:00am     Principal MacDonald

  • Refreshments
  • Student Achievement Gap Panel

ACT Sponsors National GEAR UP Day Event

ACT and California GEAR UP partner together for National GEAR UP Day at Valley High School in Sacramento. The event “Valley High School: Beating the Odds” will take place on Friday, September 18th at the high school located in the Elk Grove Unified School District of Sacramento. Press conference at 8:00 will feature California Superintendent of Public instruction Jack O’Connell as well as family and student speakers from Valley High School.