Local high school students are in sync with their national peers, according to 2015 ACT College Readiness Data. Nationally, students got an average composite score of 21 on a scale of 1 to 36. Locally, the average score is exactly the same, weighing in at 21.
The ACT is an achievement test based on curriculum, gauging those skills taught in the classroom that are deemed necessary for first-year college success. Evaluated 2015 scores are from Veritas Academy, Trinity Christian School, Pleasant Grove High School, Texas High School, Arkansas High School, Fouke High School, Liverty-Eylau High School and Genoa Central High School. On average, the scores are almost a half-point higher than last year's average of 20.6.
This year, Veritas Academy scored the highest with 27.4. Trinity was four points behind the top score with 23.3. Pleasant Grove is third, with 21.5; Texas High is fourth locally, with 20.5. Arkansas High's composite score was 19.7, Fouke is ranked sixth with 19.5; Liberty-Eylau follows with 18.4; and Genoa falls at the bottom of the list, with 17.9.
The national report is based on 1.9 million students tested. Local numbers are based on 844 taking the test.
The five students who took the exam at Veritas Academy scored a 27.4 average, nearly four points higher than last year’s 23.5. Overall, Veritas has consistently scored the highest of all area high schools. Headmaster Ben House said specific ACT prep classes aren’t offered to prepare students for the exam.
“I think it probably just comes out of a pretty rigorous curriculum. Our kids read a lot of classics. They all take higher math courses, lots of science. As a classical school, we certainly
believe (that) though the ACT and SAT don’t focus on Latin, when it comes to what Latin does for the mind, that’s really a key for kids.”
He added that Veritas’ curriculum doesn’t focus on worksheets and technology, but rather logic, rhetoric and speech.
“They’re really looking at how language works,” House said. “From beginning to end, we have a heavy emphasis on reading classics, the big books, the Greek books, and discussing them. The goal of education is to teach children how to learn.”