Students upset after Mayes’ statement about the ACT

Students upset after Mayes’ statement about the ACT

Ian Johnson

Many Manual students are upset at the statements made by Principal Mayes during a  presentation to the class of 2015 on Friday about the upcoming ACT.

A group of mostly Juniors have voiced their opinion on social media, stating that they feel Mayes’ comments suggested that a score of 28 was mediocre.

“What you score on this test is a part of you,” said Mayes during the assembly. He continued to urge students to not be satisfied with their current score, often recalling a story about a student that was content after scoring a 28 on the test.

However, Mayes stated in an interview on Thursday that the comments were meant to motivate students to do their best on the test.

“I wanted to provoke the question, ‘Is this the best you can do?’” said Mayes. “If a 14 is the best you can do on the ACT, then I am still proud of you, but I just wanted to inspire the Juniors to do the best they possibly could.”

Still, many Manual students are unhappy about the assembly.

“If my family is counting on me, then I can’t wait to get kicked out for not scoring a 36,” said Destinee Siebe (11, YPAS) in a tweet.

“When I heard about this PowerPoint presentation, I thought that would be boring,” said Mayes. “I just wanted to inspire students rather than make them sit through a two hour long presentation with information they already knew.”

A composite score of 28 is the average for 25% of admitted students at many prestigious institutions, such as The College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia, according to a study by the National Center for Educational Statistics,  and is well above the University of Louisville minimum composite score of 20 and the University of Kentucky’s required score of 23. The current average ACT composite score in Kentucky is a 19.6.

While the ACT or SAT has been taken into consideration by every four-year institutions in the United States, universities consider many other factors when making admission decisions, including GPA, course difficulty, clubs and extracurriculars, community involvement, application essays and teacher and counselor recommendations, among other opportunities that students have to differentiate themselves.

A study (PDF) published earlier this month by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling suggests that GPA is a much more accurate instrument for predicting college readiness and future success rather than the ACT and SAT tests, and should be weighted more carefully by college admissions officers.

The ACT test will be administered at Manual on Tuesday, March 18, after JCPS cancelled classes due to inclement weather last Tuesday.