Northwest Arkansas high schools report performance on ACT for Class of 2016

Haas Hall Academy of Fayetteville earned the highest average ACT score among 16 high schools reporting results for the Class of 2016.

Average composite scores among those schools ranged from 19.8 for the 402 students tested in the Springdale High School Class of 2016 to 27.3 for the 66 graduates in the Haas Hall Academy of Fayetteville for students who graduated in May, according to results reported by the schools.

Average ACT scores for the graduating Class of 2016••••••

ACT reports sent to area high schools reflect the achievement of graduates on the ACT in the subjects tested and overall. ••••••

•Number tested•English•Mathematics•Reading•Science•Composite


Arkansas• 28,120 •19.8•19.6•20.7•20.2•20.2

Nation• 2,090,342 •20.1•20.6•21.3•20.8•20.8


•Number tested•English•Mathematics•Reading•Science•Composite


Arkansas Arts Academy High School•43•23•20.3•23.5•21.3•22.1

Bentonville High School•976•22.2•21.3•23•22.3•22.3

Elkins High School•56•21.6•21•22.8•22.2•22.1

Farmington Career Academies (Farmington High School)•132•21.9•21.3•22.6•22.1•22.1

Fayetteville High School•426•23.7•22.9•24.5•23.4•23.8

Gentry High School•75•20•19.3•20.5•20.1•20.1

Haas Hall Academy Bentonville•5•25.4•20.6•25.8•25.6•24.4

Haas Hall Academy Fayetteville•66•28.9•25.9•28.1•25.9•27.3

Har-Ber High School•389•21.7•21.3•22.6•22.2•22.1

Pea Ridge High School•71•20.5•20.9•22•21.5•21.3

Prairie Grove High School•140•20.7•20.6•21.3•21.4•21.1

Rogers Heritage High School•303•20.6•20.4•21.7•21.2•21.1

Rogers High School•358•21.8•21.6•22.6•22•22.2

Rogers New Technology High School•64•20.9•20•21•20.7•20.7

Siloam Springs High School •289•19.4•20.7•20.8•20.7•20.5

Springdale High School•402•18.7•19.9•20•19.9•19.8

Source: Staff report

By the numbers

ACT participation, scores from 2012 and 2016

The following compares students tested in the graduating Class of 2012 with those from the graduating Class of 2016.


•Number tested•Average composite score•Number tested•Average composite score

State• 26,058 •20.3• 28,120 •20.2

Nation• 1,666,017 •21.1• 2,090,342 •20.8


Arkansas Arts Academy High School•41•20.1•43•22.1

Bentonville High School•569•23.7•976•22.3

Elkins High School•30•19.1•56•22.1

Farmington Career Academies (Farmington High School)•111•21.4•132•22.1

Fayetteville High School•446•24.3•426•23.8

Gentry High School•57•21.2•75•20.1

Haas Hall Academy Fayetteville•53•24.5•66•27.3

Har-Ber High School•324•21.5•389•22.1

Pea Ridge High School•57•21.7•71•21.3

Prairie Grove High School•87•20.9•140•21.1

Rogers Heritage High School•329•20.9•303•21.1

Rogers High School•307•21.7•358•22.2

Siloam Springs High School•171•21.7•289•20.5

Springdale High School•263•20.5•402•19.8

Source: Staff report

Martin Schoppmeyer, founder and superintendent of Haas Hall Academy, attributes the students' success to his faculty, as well as to giving students practice with the exam. Haas Hall students take the College Board's PSAT each year from seventh through 11th grade.

All students in the ninth through 12th grade take either the ACT or the SAT every year, taking both a practice test and the actual exam, he said.

"Test taking is a skill," Schoppmeyer said. "Practicing makes you better at it."

Most Arkansas students take the ACT instead of the SAT as a college entrance examine though some students take both, said Sarah McKenzie, executive director of the Office of Education Policy at the University of Arkansas.

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science with scores of each test combined into a composite score. The highest possible score is a 36. Students earning below a 19 in English, math or reading are subject to remedial courses in college, according to Arkansas Department of Higher Education policy.

The average ACT composite score was 20.2 for the 28,120 students in the Class of 2016 in Arkansas.

Benton and Washington counties are home to 20 public high schools, with 16 schools reporting results as of Friday. Composite scores exceeded the state's average at 14 high schools, but average scores for Springdale High School and Gentry High School were lower than the state average.

The results were for nearly 3,800 students in the 2016 graduating classes among those 16 Northwest Arkansas high schools.

The state last school year paid for and administered the ACT to all juniors statewide.

Parents should know students can take the exam multiple times, McKenzie said. She advises for students take the ACT for the first time as sophomores so the junior year test is not their first experience with the exam.

The average of 23.8 for Fayetteville High School shows students were able to compete for college when they graduated, said Steven Weber, the associate superintendent for Fayetteville School District.

Siloam Springs High School saw a dip in its average composite ACT score, but participation is up, said Principal Jason Jones. The results showed 86 more graduating Siloam Springs students took the exam than did in the previous graduating class, Jones said.

The high school in 2015 participated in a "Voluntary Universal ACT" that gave most juniors a chance to take the college entrance exam during the school day, Jones said. The Class of 2016 results reflect the most recent scores of each student who listed Siloam Springs High School as his school at the time of testing. Their scores counted toward the school's average whether they took the exam once as a junior in 2015 or multiple times through their senior year.

"We are increasing opportunities for all students, not just the students who can pay the ACT registration fee and who have transportation to the test site," Jones said. "We feel this data gives us a clearer picture of how all of our students are performing, not just college-bound students."

Prairie Grove High School also has given the ACT to all 11th-graders for the past several years. The high school's average composite score has remained steady or increased, said Missy Hixson, assistant superintendent.

More students in the graduating Class of 2016 in Gentry took the ACT than in 2012, said Superintendent Randy Barrett. He will be interested to see how plans to focus more attention on career and technical education courses in Gentry correlate with ACT scores, he said.

In Rogers, the number of students taking the ACT increased districtwide from 709 graduates in the Class of 2014 to 725 graduates tested in the Class of 2016, said Ashley Siwiec, spokeswoman. Scores for each of the past three years have remained at 21.6 for the district.

Participation by high school has changed now that the seniors are divided among three high schools, she said. The Class of 2016 was the first for Rogers New Technology High School to graduate, Siwiec said.

The district offers students an academic guarantee with payment for remedial college coursework if they score below a 19 and satisfy a list of criteria in the district policy, including successful completion of an ACT preparatory course.

Siwiec was not aware of any students who have asked for tuition assistance for remediation under the policy adopted in 2004, she said.

"Our high schools are incorporating more ACT test preparation into their lessons as well as offering after-school sessions, so we expect to see those results rise even higher," she said.

NW News on 08/28/2016