- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - More Utah high school students have registered perfect scores on the ACT college entrance exam, diminishing the significance of an achievement that used to be quite rare.

Fifteen Utah students scored a perfect 36 on the test this school year, up from one in 2009, according to figures from ACT administrators. In the previous school year, there were 17 students who notched the perfect score, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1FP3kj3).

The accomplishment is being applauded by ACT officials, but one college professor warns that if perfect scores become too commonplace, the test will lose some value as a tool for university administrators to assess prospective students. An ACT spokesman said there are no changes planned for the test.

“We love to see the average get higher and higher, because it means college and career readiness is improving,” Ed Colby said. “That’s our goal.”

Colby also said that scores across the country have remained reasonably consistent despite the increase of perfect scores in Utah. He added an evaluation of average scores is a better measuring stick than the number of top scores.

The average score of 2014 Utah high school graduates was 20.8.

“(Perfect scores) can vary year to year without necessarily representing a trend,” Colby said.

Only one of the 23,229 students in the class of 2009 that took the test recorded a 36. Seventeen of the 35,074 last year posted perfect scores.

University of Utah director of the Office of Admissions Matthew Lopez said universities would stop using the ACT as a way to gauge prospective students if perfect scores became regular.

“Before you see a world of 36,” Lopez said, “we’re going to see schools not using the ACT in the same way they use it now.”

Many of those perfect 36 scores came after taking the test multiple times. Lopez said taking the test more than twice may be an unnecessary stress considering it is not the lone factor in the admissions process. He believes the increase in top scores is a result of an increase in population in the state.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, https://www.sltrib.com

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