Only one-tenth of one percent of the 2.1 million test takers achieve a perfect score on the American College Testing, better known as the ACT.
Clarksville-Montgomery County School System rising seniors Emily Mayes and Charlotte Lange and newly graduated Joseph Bierman are among that miniscule number earning a 36 when they took the test this school year.
ACT officials say the test, which more than 1.9 million students took last year, hasn’t changed in any meaningful way since 1989, the Cincinnati “Enquirer” recently reported. In taking a comprehensive look at ACT scores, the “Enquirer” noted that students armed with No. 2 pencils still get three anxious hours to answer multiple choice questions about math, English, science and reading that could help determine whether they get into their college of choice.
The average test scores haven’t changed much, either. Those have hovered around 21 for at least the past five years. ACT has seen a slight rise in those scoring a 36 in recent years. They are attributing the increase to better test preparation.
In Tennessee, curriculum standards now are better aligned to what is tested on the ACT. All CMCSS high schools offer an ACT test preparation course before eleventh graders take the exam. The Tennessee Legislature requires all high school juniors take the test, regardless of the students’ plans to attend college.
CMCSS sees about one student every few years scoring a 36 Composite (36 on all sections). On average, five to 10 CMCSS students achieve a 35 composite each year.
On individual content subjects, CMCSS students have seen scores of 36. For example in 2017-18, CMCSS showed the following data:
In English, 14 students scored 36, and 22 had 35
In Reading, 19 students scored 36, and 22 scored 35
In Science, 10 students scored 36, and 9 scored 35
In Math, no students score a 36, but three did score a 35