PreACT Secure/ACT High School Assessment

What are the ACT High School Assessments? 

ACT, Inc. has provided testing services for more than 50 years. Their assessments have evolved to reflect the nation's view of education to embrace lifelong learning and prepare students to be college and career ready after high school graduation. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) contracted with ACT, Inc. starting with the 2014-15 fiscal year to comprehensively assess Wisconsin high school students: 

  • 9th and 10th grade students will take the PreACT Secure assessment in the spring. 
  • 11th grade students will take The ACT® with writing in the spring. 

The ACT® with writing

The ACT with writing consists of four multiple choice tests: English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science; and a 40-minute essay test that measures student writing skills. 

The PreACT Secure

PreACT Secure is a new summative assessment which takes the place of Aspire in Spring 2023 and is  given to 9th and 10th grade student. PreACT Secure is aligned to the ACT and the ACT College and Career Readiness Standards. PreACT Secure measures what students have learned in the areas of English, Reading, Mathematics, and Science.
PreACT Secure closely mirrors the ACT in many ways, including implementation, test delivery, scoring, and reporting. PreACT Secure scores predict how students will perform on the ACT when they reach 11th grade and their readiness for college-level coursework.

For more information regarding PreACT secure, please click here

How are the test results used?

All students in grades 9-11 will be given these assessments except for approximately 1% of students with significant cognitive disabilities who will be tested with an alternate assessment. This system of assessments will allow teachers to measure a student’s growth throughout high school. DPI will also use The ACT® with writing for the high school accountability measure in order to determine the extent to which schools and districts across the state meet proficiency standards.
What type of scores will be provided? 

PreACT Secure scores are reported on a two digit scale, 1 to 36, with 35 being the highest score. These scores will predict future ACT scores.
The ACT ® with writing scores range from 1 to 36 for each of the subtests and one overall score called a composite. Students will also receive a writing score ranging from 2 to 12. Scores can be used by students for college admission, scholarships, course placement, and NCAA eligibility. Students have the option to send their scores to up to four colleges free of charge, complete a voluntary pre-test survey, and opt-in to having ACT provide their information to colleges, universities, financial aid and scholarship agencies, and organizations that provide educational programs. 

Each ACT score will fall in one of four Wisconsin performance levels: 

  • Advanced – Student demonstrates thorough understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills for their grade level that are associated with college content-readiness. 
  • Proficient – Student demonstrates adequate understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills for their grade level that are associated with college content-readiness. 
  • Basic – Student demonstrates partial understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills for their grade level that are associated with college content readiness. 
  • Below Basic – Student demonstrates minimal understanding of and ability to apply the knowledge and skills for their grade level that are associated with college content-readiness. 

What learning standards do the ACT High School Assessments measure?

ACT and DPI work together to ensure that the ACT assessments measure what students have learned through the Wisconsin Academic Standards. Students taught to the Wisconsin Academic Standards should be well prepared to be successful with the ACT assessments.
The Wisconsin Academic Standards define the knowledge and skills students should take away from their K-12 schooling to be successfully prepared for postsecondary and career opportunities. The Wisconsin Academic Standards are available at

Parental Opt Out of Assessments (Students)

  • Parents may request, and the Stoughton Area School District will provide (in a timely manner) information regarding any State of or local educational agency policy regarding stduent particiation in any assessment mandated by ESSA, the State or LEA which shall include a policy, procedure, or parental right to opt the child our of such assessments, where applicable, under Wis. Stats. 118.30(2)(b)3.
  • Please see Stoughton Area School District Policy
  • DPI has provided the following guidance on parent/guardian opt-out requests.  
    • Please see the section entitled “Why should I let my student take the standardized test? How does it benefit them?”, which families may find helpful. 
  • Frequently Asked Questions Include:
    • When is parent/guardian opt-out allowed?
      • When a parent or guardian requests that the student be excused from participating in the WSAS, this request must be honored at grades 4, 8, 9-11, per Wis. Stats. 118.30(2)(b)3.. This request may come at any time during the testing window. All students excused by parent opt-out are marked as “not tested” students in school and district reporting determinations. 
    • How does a parent/guardian request an opt-out for their student?
      • A parent must submit a written request for student opt-out to the principal.  Per Wis. Stats. 118.30(2)(b)3., if the student is in grades 4, 8, and 9-11 the request must be granted.  However, if the student is not in the above-mentioned grade levels, the decision to grant the request is at the discretion of the school board.

Where can I find sample or practice test questions? 

Practice tests and sample test questions are available from ACT. Actual test questions are not released.


Kate Ahlgren

Director of Curriculum & Instruction
(608) 877-5031

Jose Guerrero

Data & Assessment Specialist
(608) 877-5032

Amanda O'Brien

Infinite Campus Specialist
(608) 877-5045
Enroll in SASD

Dana Teske

Teacher Mentor
(608) 877-5046

Ashley Steffel

Ashley Steffel

Administrative Assistant - Teaching and Learning
(608) 877-5042