Class of 2018 tops 30 ACT average for second consecutive year

4 weeks ago

The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts’ Class of 2018 outpaced peers across the state by more than 10 points on the ACT, a national college admissions exam.

The students averaged a 30.0 composite score as a class, according to a report released Wednesday by the ACT.   The accomplishment marks the second consecutive year in which the school’s graduating class has achieved higher than 30 on the national exam.  The average for Arkansas students was 19.4, which remained unchanged from the 2017 statewide average.

The Class of 2018’s composite score upon enrollment at ASMSA in Fall 2016 was 26.1. 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.

“We are proud of the Class of 2018 for their commitment to success on the ACT and their growth on the exam during their time at ASMSA,” ASMSA Director Corey Alderdice said. “While the ACT is only a snapshot of students’ critical thinking and quantitative abilities, we recognize the role the exam plays in positioning students for college admission and scholarship opportunities and champion student efforts to improve scores in order to unlock opportunities.”

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: 32.4;
• Mathematics: 28.8;
• Reading: 31.6;
• Science: 29.6.

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 50 classes that allow students to earn college credit via a partnership with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.  Recent cohorts of graduates have completed an average of 50 hours of college credit through the ASMSA experience.

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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