For the fourth year in a row nearly 10,500 Montana Public High School students will be taking the ACT test for free on Tuesday, April 19.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said the free testing is part of the Graduation Matters Montana program.

"Under Graduation Maters Montana, it means more than just walking across the stage and accepting a diploma," Juneau said. "We want to make sure that every student has the opportunity to go forward with developing a career and going to college, so finding the ACT for free for every student in the state gives us each individual student the chance to learn if they need an extra year of math or science, or if they are prepared for college."

Juneau outlines the benefits of the free ACT testing program.

"It's a great benefit to individuals and to families because they don't have to pay the cost of the test, and moving to the ACT for federal accountability purposes  this year, we've actually saved those students eight hours of testing time, so its a win-win situation for everybody involved."

Juneau said the free ACT testing is funded by a partnership with the Office of the Montana Commissioner of Higher Education.

Montana is one of 13 states that provides the ACT free for all public school juniors.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam. It tests what students have actually learned in school, not their aptitude for learning. The ACT also measures what students need to know to be ready for first year credit-bearing college courses based on ACT College Readiness Standards. Every student's results can be tied directly to these consistent standards.