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ASMSA students improve ACT scores, opposite of state, national trends | Families

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ASMSA students improve ACT scores, opposite of state, national trends
Families, News, Schools
ASMSA students improve ACT scores, opposite of state, national trends

HOT SPRINGS — In a year where state and national ACT scores dropped across the board, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts students improved their scores.

In 2013, ASMSA students received an average composite score of 28.6, according to a report released Wednesday. The average composite score for the state was 20.2, and the national average was 20.9. Both the state and national scores dipped from the previous year. ASMSA’s score rose by almost 2 points.

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.

Similar scoring trends were found in each of the individual testing areas, with scores dropping across the board nationally and in three of the four areas in the state. ASMSA students’ scores improved in each category. The 102 ASMSA students tested received the following average scores in each testing area:

  • English: AMSA 29.0; state, 19.9; national, 20.2;
  • Mathematics: ASMSA, 28.0; state, 19.9; national, 20.9;
  • Reading: ASMSA, 29.2; state, 20.5; national, 21.1;
  • Science: ASMSA, 27.9; state, 20.1; national, 20.7.

ACT also measures how prepared students are for first-year college coursework. ACT compares the scores from each testing area to grades earned by college students in English composition, college algebra, social science (reading) and biology to set a benchmark score. A benchmark score is the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of a student obtaining a B or higher or a 75 percent chance of a student obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college courses.

Eighty percent of ASMSA students met or surpassed the benchmarks in all four areas, compared to 20 percent on the state level and 26 percent nationally. In English composition, 100 percent of ASMSA students met the benchmark, compared to 63 percent in the state and 64 percent nationally.

All ASMSA classes are taught on the college level, and the school offers 55 classes that allow students to earn college credit. Many of the school’s graduates begin college at the sophomore level.

“The ACT scores show we are connecting with the best and brightest students in Arkansas,” said Bob Gregory, interim dean of academics at ASMSA. “High-achieving Arkansas students and their parents are getting the message about the opportunities available at ASMSA.”

Many ASMSA students take the ACT during their sophomore year of high school as part of ASMSA’s admission criteria. Their scores upon enrolling at ASMSA and the general increase in scores upon graduating from ASMSA reflect the students’ academic preparedness.

“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 confident learners who are able to handle any kind of assessment,” Gregory said.

About ASMSA: The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts is one of 15 public residential high schools in the country specializing in the education of academically gifted juniors and seniors. Located in historic downtown Hot Springs, the school is a campus of the University of Arkansas system. ASMSA also provides an award-winning K-12 distance education program that serves nearly 3,500 students. The ASMSA Office of Distance Education offers real time, interactive video courses in virtually all disciplines to schools nationwide. For more information about Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, visit www.asmsa.org or call 1-800-345-2767.



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