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Using SAS® Analytics, ACT Shines Light On College Readiness

Monday, January 10, 2011

Using SAS® Analytics, ACT provides assessment, research, information and program management solutions in the areas of education and workforce development. ACT is an independent, not-for-profit organization that is best known for administering the ACT college entrance exam to high school students. With SAS statistical analysis from the leader in business analytics, ACT's Department of Education and Workforce Research Services (EWRS) can efficiently provide thousands of customized reports to ACT staff, high schools, school districts, states, regions, and national and governmental organizations.

More than 2 million high school students take the ACT each year – some more than once. ACT EWRS needs to provide summary reporting at the school, district, state, regional and national levels, being careful not to count students twice. It also provides custom reports to colleges and universities.

ACT is a longtime SAS customer. “We’ve never considered any other product,’’ said Robert Ziomek, Director of the  Department of Education and Workforce Research Services in ACT’s Education Division. “If we didn’t have a tool like SAS, I don’t think we could be as responsive to our customers, because a lot of times we need information right away and often that requires manipulating a lot of data. We depend heavily on SAS to do that.’’

ACT researchers like the SAS solution's file-handling capabilities, its ability to manipulate data from multiple sources and the ease of working with very large data sets. ACT researchers can process reports that might take 10 or more hours using conventional processes and do them in a few hours with SAS.

Annually, thousands of reports are sent to high schools, districts and states; the complex process of starting with millions of student records, selecting only those for the graduating class, edit checking, data analysis, report production, proofing and mailing is accomplished in 4-6 weeks. The organization can also quickly turn out 300 to 500 custom reports each year for field staff, governmental organizations and custom requests.

Providing customized research

ACT uses SAS to provide customized research to universities on how ACT scores and high school course selection affect readiness for different types of college classes. Every year, more than 2,000 "High School to College Success" reports are generated and sent to colleges, universities, school districts and schools. The testing service also uses SAS for predictive validity studies as well as course placement studies requested by colleges and universities. 

SAS® Analytics backed by consulting, training and support services

Providing the foundation for SAS Analytics, SAS statistics help thousands of organizations worldwide uncover new information that improves processes, drives development and revenues, and helps retain valued and satisfied customers. SAS Analytics are part of the SAS Business Analytics Framework, backed by the industry's most comprehensive range of consulting, training and support services – ensuring customers maximum return from their IT investments.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions delivered within an integrated framework, SAS helps customers at more than 50,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know® .
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