ASMSA Class of 2017 earns highest ACT composite score

1 year ago

The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts Class of 2017 posted the highest composite score on the ACT in school history.

The students averaged a 30.6 composite score as a class, according to a report released Thursday by the ACT. The score topped the Class of 2015’s 29.8, the highest final average composite score of any class.

The Class of 2017’s composite score upon enrollment at ASMSA in fall 2015 was 27.2, a record for an incoming class. Students applying to ASMSA must initially take the ACT during their sophomore year as part of the admissions criteria. Students generally see an increase in their ACT scores during their two years at ASMSA.

“From the time we began reviewing students’ application in spring 2015, we knew ASMSA’s Class of 2017 was going to be a remarkable group and one of the most talented in the school’s two decades of operation,” ASMSA Director Corey Alderdice said.  “While they performed exceptionally on standardized exams like the ACT, what continued to impress me the most was their love of learning in general and how they contributed to our campus community.”

The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with 36 being the highest possible score. Students also receive scores in four individual testing areas, which are combined for the composite score. The individual testing areas are English, mathematics, reading and science.

The students scored well on average on each individual testing area. The average scores on each subject were:
• English: 32;
• Mathematics: 29.2;
• Reading: 32.5;
• Science: 30.6.

Bob Gregory, dean of academic affairs at ASMSA, attributed a significant portion of the students’ success on the test to the students’ hometown school districts throughout Arkansas.

“The scores are an indicator that schools around the state are preparing students to be successful as they progress through their school careers. The advanced coursework that students experience at ASMSA creates learners who are able to handle any kind of assessment,” Gregory said.

Alderdice said that ASMSA strives to be viewed as an extension of every school in the state. He said such scores are only possible with the combined preparation students received from their home institutions and continued study at ASMSA.

All ASMSA classes are taught on the college level, and the school offers more than 60 classes that allow students to earn college credit. Many of the school’s graduates begin college at the sophomore level.

While the ACT is designed to measure how prepared academically students are for the first year of college, it does not reflect ASMSA’s efforts to create confident learners who are able to handle college life and beyond.

“ASMSA is a college bridge environment — it combines the academic rigor, research experience and opportunities to study abroad of college and with the supervision, safety, support systems and structure of high school,” Alderdice said.

“There’s this idea of college readiness being measured by ACT score benchmarks, which predicts how good of a chance a student will have making a C or better in a college class, but there’s more to consider than academic capacity. Can the student live independently? Can they act autonomously and make decisions as a young adult?”

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