ACTNext is leading the personalized learning revolution through the development of Educational Companion, our prototype app based on self-regulated learning and evidence-centered design principles. Inspired, in part, by Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi classic, “The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, ACTNext is developing Companion as a research based prototype which will inform future ACT products. Companion is powered by proprietary ACTNext dynamic cognitive diagnostic models and machine learning algorithms, in conjunction with access to ACT test and learning data, and linked to the curated collection of standards-aligned learning resources from OpenEd. Importantly, Companion also integrates information from the ACT Holistic Framework to help students understand how to take advantage of (and improve) their non-cognitive skills—providing test prep for the whole self. For the first time, students, teachers, and parents will have direct access to students’ own assessment data from multiple ACT products and direct control over their learning, including the remedial actions they take using ACT resources (including ACT Online Prep, OpenEd, and Tessera). Companion provides psychometrically sound, real-time feedback for students and parents in order to substantially accelerate learning by identifying the exact, personalized remediation and support a learner needs, when they need it, in the palm of their hand.

In order to field test Companion, ACTNext researchers recently conducted a pilot study with US students and are currently analyzing the data. In addition to informing future prototypes, the information collected will help us refine Companion’s ongoing development, explore how students learn, and perfect our computational psychometrics methodology ( i.e. learning models, cognitive diagnostic models). Through the continued integration of our research findings into real-world applications, ACTNext is building the infrastructure necessary for a lifetime of holistic, personalized learning.

Companion delivers high-quality, comprehensive preparation for college and the workforce—available to anyone with access to a mobile device—that provides feedback on a learner’s whole self, and helps them develop the critical cognitive and social/emotional learning skills necessary for success in the 21st century. Our goal for the ACTNext Educational Companion app is to become nothing short of the best peer and tutor you could ask for: a pocket-sized companion from kindergarten through college and the workplace that helps learners reach their highest potential as informed, active, holistic human-beings.