Friday, October 11, 2002

Iowa Homeschooler Gets a Perfect 36 on ACT

Elizabeth Gulleen of Johnston, Iowa, just northwest of Des Moines, scored a perfect 36 on the ACT college entrance examination, the Des Moines Register reported.

The homeschooled teen was one of only 43 students nationwide, out of 376,000, who scored a 36 when they took the test in June. Average score for the past testing year involving 1.7 million students on several test days was a 20.8. Only a small percentage of those tested were homeschooled students.

Miss Gulleen's score not only proves how great homeschooling is, but it provides an opportunity to examine the impact of percentages of students on test-score rankings. Iowa and Nebraska both do very well when average scores are analyzed in relation to how many of a state's total students took the test.

Here are average statewide ACT scores in the past year for the top-ranking states as reported by ACT on its website, www.act.org. Pay close attention to the percentage of those tested:

Maine 22.5 6%

Oregon 22.5 12%

Utah 22.3 10%

Washington 22.3 16%

New York 22.2 14%

Wisconsin 22.2 68%

Minnesota 22.1 65%

Hawaii 22.0 18%

Iowa 22.0 66%

New Hampshire 22.0 7%

Massachusetts 21.9 8%

Rhode Island 21.9 6%

Nebraska 21.7 72%

So while Nebraska ranks 13th, only Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa beat Nebraska's score with a significant percentage of students taking the test. That's not half bad.

But look again at the average scores compared to the perfect 36 that Miss Gulleen scored . . . and keep in mind that the average public school is spending nearly $10,000 per pupil per year while the average homeschooler's annual course costs less than $1,000.

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