Seventh graders from Crossett Middle School were invited to participate in the highly selective Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) talent search.
Duke TIP gives students in seventh grade the opportunity to take the American College Test (ACT) to allow students to have greater insight into their abilities and give them the opportunity to preview a college entrance exam.
Out of the seven CMS students selected, three students chose to take the ACT last month, and one of those students — Drew Johnson, 12 — shocked teachers and fellow students with a composite score of 26.
The highest a person can score on the ACT is a 36, but a 24 is considered above average. The average ACT score in 2017 was 21, and a 24 was in the 75th percentile, meaning that anyone who scored a 24 or above scored better than 75 percent of all of the test takers in 2017.
“I tell students that scoring a 14 is good, because as seventh graders, most of the stuff on the test, they haven’t learned yet, “ CMS gifted and talented teacher Melissa Bays Martar Bays.
Johnson said she crammed the night before hoping for an 18, but was excited to see that she made a 26 with a 28 on the math portion.
“My mom said, ‘Oh my, you’re a little genius,’” Johnson said.
Johnson also said that her mother had purchased a large study guide for Johnson to study with, but she said she didn’t really look at it much until right before the test.
“My goal was an 18, but I was really just going for the experience,” Johnson said.
Seventh graders Lily Cedatol and Emily Jordan both took the test with Johnson. Jordan scored the second highest of the trio with a 19. Cedatol scored a 16, but said she thinks she would have done better if she wasn’t working on an empty stomach.
“Eat breakfast,” Cedatol said was her advice to any of her classmates who might take the test in the future.
Cedatol said she is happy to have the experience and hopes to work to improve her score over the next five years.
“I’m proud of all of the them,” Bays said. “I think it is a great experience.”
The other students invited to take the test included Ethan Hill, Trinity Foster, Kaylee Hayes and Rikki King. Bays said Foster is scheduled to take the ACT in April.