Arizona State, ACT announce research and product-development institute


Arizona State University (ASU) and ACT announced a product-development partnership at the 2018 ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego on Wednesday.

The “research and product development partnership” will be facilitated by a jointly led institute for research collaboration on topics ranging from adaptive learning to workforce readiness. Under the leadership of President Michael Crow, ASU has aggressively pursued, experimented with and incorporated technology in all areas of campus life — it’s been named the most innovative school in the U.S. for three years running — while ACT has only recently begun branching out beyond its core business of educational assessments.

The two organizations have not announced a location for the institute, but a timeline is expected to be available in the coming months. The work conducted by the institute will follow the ACT Holistic Framework, which provides comprehensive student-readiness measures to schools and governments across the country.

The partnership will also work to identify multiple research and product development initiatives to improve educational opportunities for children and adults at all levels of learning, according to a statement.

“It is clear that society and our economy are undergoing massive structural changes,” Crow said in the statement. “The fundamental nature of ‘work’ will change before our lives are over as learners prepare for careers that don’t even exist today. This will have ripple effects throughout society. Family dynamics will change. Community dynamics will change.”

ACT, which provides assessments for more than 15 million students around the world, announced a $7.5 million investment in adaptive learning company Smart Sparrow in February, and claims this forthcoming institute will be another step toward an “ongoing transformation to an organization dedicated to learning and assessment.”

“We selected ASU because of its strengths as a highly innovative higher education institution focused on developing lifelong learners, in addition to our growing portfolio of learning partnerships and investments,” said Marten Roorda, CEO of ACT. “With this latest collaboration, ACT will further expand and enhance its impact on learning and assessment.”