MARSHALL - Marshall High School senior Kiley Maki has gotten perfect scores on tests before, but when he went online to find out the results of his ACT test and realized that he had earned a top composite score of 36, he was astonished.
"I was in disbelief," Maki said. "But it felt pretty good."
With the perfect mark, Maki joins an elite group who represent roughly one-tenth of 1 percent of test takers nationally who score a 36. In the high school graduating class of 2010, only 588 of nearly 1.6 million students did.
"A perfect score of 36 on the ACT is not only an indicator of academic skill, but a reflection of his hard work, dedication and a commitment to excellence," Marshall Superintendent Klint Willert said in a press release. "Clearly, Kiley's performance is among the best. I am truly delighted for Kiley as well as the many educators that have supported him along the way."
To prepare for the ACT, Maki said he didn't go out and buy the study books, but felt that he was ready.
"I just looked over some stuff," he said. "I've always done alright in school. My classes have definitely helped."
Maki challenged himself by taking a number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes during his high school career.
"One of the things I appreciate about Kiley is he's accomplished what he's done by taking a rigorous course schedule in high school," MHS Principal Brian Jones said. "He's continually taking math, continually taking science and continuing taking our top level language arts classes to try and challenge himself."
The ACT is comprised of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, with each test scored on a scale of 1-36. The student's composite score is the average of the four test results. Math is Maki's favorite subject. If he had to choose his weakest area on the test, he'd select the reading and writing sections.
Since all major colleges in the United States accept ACT testing as a standard entrance qualification, the path to being accepted has been cleared for Maki. An exceptionally high score, or in Maki's case, a perfect one, is a huge indicator that a student is ready for the academic rigors that lie ahead in higher education. Despite the high ACT mark, Maki has no plans to "coast" through his senior year.
"He's not taking his senior year off," Jones said. "He's selected a very rigorous schedule for himself. He'll also stay busy in our various extra curricular activities. He's a very well-rounded student and kid. It's great to see he's having such great success, and what a great accomplishment he had."
Maki is currently in marching band, and he also plans to participate in hockey and winter drumline at during his senior year at MHS. After graduation, he sees himself in college, somewhere in Minnesota.
"I might go farther away for graduate school," Maki said. "I've sent applications off so far to Carleton College and the University of Minnesota. I'll probably go into computer science or something math-related."
A perfect ACT score also presents Maki with financial possibilities in the form of potential scholarship opportunities, which is monumental at a time when many institutions are raising tuition prices.
"Hopefully it'll make college a little easier," Maki said.