Top ACT Executive Will Resign; Search for Successor Begins

Managing Editor

Jon Whitmore, the chief executive officer of the ACT, has announced he will retire from that post next year, a decision that comes as the organization is shifting its assessment work to mesh with the demands of the Common Core State Standards.

Officials at the ACT, based in Iowa City, Iowa, said they will soon begin a “global search” for a successor for Whitmore, who came to the organization in 2010 after having served as president of San Jose State University in California.

The ACT, a nonprofit, is perhaps best known as the developer of the ACT college-admissions tests, a rival to the SAT, which is sponsored by the College Board. But its lineup of assessment, research, and program-management services is broader than that. The organization recently announced that it had acquired Pacific Metrics, a provider of products and services in online testing and automated scoring.

The ACT recently announced that it was dropping a pair of secondary-grade level assessments, the Explore and Plan tests, as part of its plans to launch a new suite of tests, called Aspire, aimed at capturing a portion of the common-core testing market. (The College Board, it should be noted, has also made a series of changes to its testing lineup meant to position itself to prosper in the common-core landscape.)

The ACT made another high-profile personnel move last year, when it hired Tony Bennett, the former state schools chief in Indiana and Florida, to consult on test development, and other issues, as my colleague Catherine Gewertz reported.

Whitmore, 69, said his official retirement date will be August 31, 2015.

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