My last blog post was about how eight Oxford High School students earned Star Student status by scoring a 35 or 36 on the ACT test. Normally there is only one STAR Student per school, but the rules stipulate that any student scoring a 35 or 36 with a 93 or higher average is entitled to STAR honors.
I "guesstimated" that such a score would be in the 99.7th percentile or higher. Well, based on last year's scores it's far better. In 2012, 24 out of 28,288 Mississippi graduating seniors posted a best ACT score of 35 or 36. If these statistics hold true for this year, that means that these eight students are in the 99.9th percentile of Mississippi graduates.
Nationally, 5,238 seniors graduated with a score of 35 or 36 on the ACT (which explains why Harvard and Yale are so hard to get in to!). This is out of 1,666,017 seniors reporting. So nationally, a score of 35 or higher places one in only the 99.7th percentile.
It's really amazing. I would guess that you could take the 20th-ranked student from Oxford High School and place him or her randomly in any high school in the state; most times that student would likely end up being the STAR student and perhaps the valedictorian.
I've said that the large Oxford National Merit classes are not an anomaly, but the new normal. Well, having such a large group of students scoring 35 or 36 on the ACT is an anomaly. I don't see another group like this any time soon. Of course, I hope I'm wrong!
As always, good news like this should cause us to ask ourselves questions. Oxford clearly has some of the brightest kids not just in Mississippi, but in the United States. Is the school system doing everything it can to develop this talent, for example, by providing intensive foreign language instruction in the elementary grades, or AP classes starting in eighth grade? If not, why not?
Second, is the city of Oxford prepared to capitalize on the school system's success in order to attract success-oriented parents? The city should plan a major advertising campaign aimed at getting highly successful people to move to Oxford to take advantage of the school system. Nothing breeds success like success. People with smart children are looking for good schools for their kids. Somebody just needs to tell them where the schools are. That's what advertising is for.
Here is a link to the 2012 National ACT score information.
Here is a link to the 2012 Mississippi ACT score information.