ACT, the nonprofit organization that develops and delivers the ACT test, announced today a change in leadership and a series of cost-cutting measures to enable it to continue to serve students into the future, despite the current negative business impact of COVID-19.
CEO Marten Roorda is leaving ACT, with Chief Operating Officer Janet Godwin selected to serve as interim chief executive officer. Godwin is a 30-year veteran of ACT, with a distinguished record of personal and professional dedication to helping students achieve education success.
Janet Godwin will succeed Marten Roorda, who arrived at ACT in 2015 after serving as CEO of Cito, a major testing organization in the Netherlands. During Roorda’s ACT tenure he broadened the nonprofit’s scope to include learning, measurement and navigation, increasing the impact of ACT’s mission of “Helping people achieve education and workplace success.”
Godwin, who was appointed interim CEO, began her ACT career in 1990. Over the past three decades she has held progressively responsible positions in test development, information technology, and client engagement, as well as senior-level positions including vice president of operations, chief of staff, and chief operating officer, her current post that she has held for nearly six years. She has also served on a number of volunteer boards, including the Iowa City school board, which she currently leads as president.
“Janet has made tremendous contributions to ACT,” said Chad Wick, chair of the ACT Board of Directors. “The ACT Board of Directors knows Janet very well, appreciates her deep and abiding commitment to the many organizations and millions of people ACT serves each year, and has high confidence in her ability to step in and provide outstanding leadership in this role.”
ACT postponed its April 2020 national test date out of concern for the safety of students and those administering the test, and also saw a significant decline in its state and district testing programs. While ACT will continue to offer testing in June and July, it will do so with fewer open test centers and social distancing practices reducing test centers’ capacities.
Furthering its commitment and mission to serve learners, ACT is working with open test centers to offer summer testing opportunities. For registered students who are unable or choose not to test, it is providing free test date changes to future test dates or refunds of registration fees.
ACT’s cost-cutting measures include voluntary options for its team members to reduce their work hours, take leaves of absence, or voluntarily resign and receive severance pay. In addition, the organization announced there would be no raises next year and some fringe benefits would be reduced. Beyond the steps announced Thursday, further cost reductions are expected.
Commitment to ACT Testing and the Future of Learning
Students’ options for taking the ACT test were severely affected by test center and school closures at the onset of the pandemic. In response, ACT is providing flexible testing options and in late fall/early winter will offer remotely proctored test experiences to provide students with an innovative and alternative opportunity to demonstrate what they know. This will also benefit colleges by providing a valid and reliable measure of students’ academic readiness and insights into their career interests.
ACT has also unveiled a number of free digital learning resources for students and members of the workforce, as well as original research about the impact of the pandemic on students and workers. The organization will continue to develop and deliver research-based solutions to help learners and schools navigate challenges and new opportunities for learning. As it expands its portfolio and aligns its resources for growth, ACT will continue to carry out its mission and serve the education community.