Technical Writing and Test Prep: An Examination of Technical Writing in The Real ACT Prep Guide

Technical Writing and Test Prep: An Examination of Technical Writing in The Real ACT Prep Guide

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Developed in the 1950s as a response to an increased interest in post-secondary education due to the G.I. Bill, the American College Testing Program, known today as ACT, was a non- profit, tax-exempt organization which provided standardized testing services meant to “help students make better decisions about which colleges to attend and which programs to study, and provide information helpful to colleges both in the process of admitting students and in ensuring their success after enrollment” (“ACT.org”). Historically, the ACT has played an integral role in the developing the realms of education and the workforce, and it continues to support both education and workforce development in the 21st century. In 2002, the ACT organization announced a new corporate structure, comprised of “two divisions: Education and Workforce Development. The new governance structure consists of a 14-member Board of Directors, and the expanded advising structure retains the ACT State Organizations but now also includes two distinct Advisory Boards, one for each of the new divisions” (“ACT.org”) calling into question the company’s “non-profit” title. Adorning a corporate title, however, suggests that the role of the ACT organization and its purpose of standardized testing persist as an economic enterprise whose sole purpose is to create revenue.
The ACT organization relies heavily on economic and technical developments that help sustain productivity and reliability of a product. In the case of the non-profit, tax exempt entity of ACT, standardized testing is big business as “every year Americans spend millions on the tests they are required to write in order to be evaluated for admission into undergraduate and graduate programs, and many millions mor...


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...valuation of a text designed by, marketed by, and sold by ACT Incorporated. Ultimately, connecting the history of ACT testing, the creation of a test preparation study guide distributed by a non-profit “corporate” entity, and a qualitative study of technical design is undoubtedly a challenge. However, the findings of such research will potentially challenge or strengthen notions about the validity of both standardized test and test prep materials with respect to technical writing.



Works Cited

Works Cited
"ACT: The First Fifty Years, 1959-2009." ACT.org. Act, Inc., 2009. Web. 1 Oct 2010. .

Carter, Chris. The Case Against Standardized Tests. 6 Oct. 2009. testcritic.homestead.com. 23 Sep. 2010 .

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