By Philip Carney
The long journey through elementary, middle and high school has finally come to a close for this year’s high school seniors. As they graduate from high school, they look on to the next step in their lives. For many of them this means attending a college or university in the fall to continue their studies in a more specific area. The whole point of high school has been to prepare them for this step but the question is, are they actually ready?
Every spring high school juniors across the state sit down to take one of the most stressful and important tests or their pre-college education, the ACT. It is designed to test the educational ability and the college readiness of students that take it. The ACT covers five main areas of study: English, mathematics, reading, science and in some cases writing. The test is graded on a scale of 1 to 36, 36 being the highest score achievable. Students at DHS have been known to score highly on the ACT and recent test results have been released support that claim. The national average for students that took the ACT in 2010 was 21.0 and for the state of Michigan the average was 19.7. The average composite score bettered the national average by 2.4 points with a 23.4 overall. At a recent professional development meeting, more encouraging data was announced.
“46.8 percent of our students who are now seniors are considered college ready,” DHS assistant principal Ben Cronkright said. “In order to achieve that status you have to earn a 25 or better on the ACT. So 46.8 percent of students that took the ACT last year got a twenty five or better.”
This stat puts DHS well above the national average and is very encouraging for this year’s graduating seniors heading to college in the fall. Senior Kodiak Kollmeyer took the ACT in 2010 and is heading to Michigan State University in the fall.
“I find that Dow High does a very good job preparing students for college, especially with its AP courses,” Kollmeyer said. “In talking with many Dow High graduates currently in college I have heard that freshman courses are often easier than many of Dow High’s upper level classes.”
DHS prepares students for further studies in all kinds of areas. On the 2010 ACT the DHS average was above the national average in all five categories. The highest average score at DHS was mathematics where students averaged a 24.2, 3.2 points higher than the national math average of 21 for 2010. Senior David Personke will be attending Kalamazoo College in the fall but is undecided about what he wants to study.
“Kalamazoo has a lot of majors that are not like classes that I’ve taken in high school so I’m going to try out some of those and hopefully find what I like and what I don’t,” Personke said. “I shouldn’t have any trouble with classes because Dow has definitely given me just as good, if not a better, education than I would have gotten at any other high school. I should be on the same level as all the other freshmen going to (Kalamazoo College) next year.”
Regardless of the area of study, DHS appears to do a good job at preparing its students for college educations.