Joshua Crenshaw

BOONE — Joshua Crenshaw, a local home-schooled student, recently scored a 34 on the American College Test. Crenshaw’s score was just two points shy of what is considered a perfect score on the test, which placed him in the 99th percentile.

The ACT is a standardized multiple-choice test used for college admissions and is similar to the Scholastic Aptitude Test. It consists of four tests in the subjects of English, math, reading and science. The national average composite score on the test nationwide for the 2018 graduating class was 20.8, according to information found on the test company’s website.

Among all ACT test takers, a perfect score of 36 is pretty rare. However, Joshua has set a goal for himself and is hoping to achieve a 36 the next time he takes the test as a ninth-grader.

Joshua and his mother Lisa, who also serves as his teacher, shared their reaction to the test score he received after completing the exam in April at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.

“I was definitely surprised. I’d taken a few practice tests and I had gotten around a 29. My SAT score was supposed to be around there and on the ACT that’s what it translated over to. The lady who does our testing here didn’t expect me to get higher than a 31 at all. So it was really surprising for all of us,” Joshua said.

Last year, as a seventh-grader, Joshua qualified for the Duke University Talent Identification Program, which identifies academically talented students in grades 4-7. Those who qualify for the program are provided with resources, enrichment activities and advice to ensure they are equipped to reach their highest potential. In order to qualify for the program, Joshua scored above the 95th national percentile on an accepted grade-level national standardized achievement or abilities test. Being a participant in the program is what allowed him to take the SAT as a seventh-grader. He got a 1340 on the test, which was close to the score the Crenshaws were expecting during that time frame.

“All of those testings have given him practice on what math to teach himself or to search for. He does a lot of that in his free time, above and beyond our normal math curriculum,” Lisa said.

Joshua has also participated in MATHCOUNTS competitions. MATHCOUNTS is a national math enrichment, coaching and competition program that aims to promote middle school mathematics achievement throughout the United States and all of its territories. During his first year participating as a seventh-grader, Joshua placed first in his age group. This year as an eighth-grader, he placed third. The top four individuals who participate in the MATHCOUNTS competition qualify for the state competition in Raleigh, which Joshua has attended the past two years.

This year was Joshua’s first time participating in a math contest hosted by the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and he qualified for the state competition held at N.C. State University.

In order to prepare himself to achieve his goal of a 36 on the test as a ninth grader, Joshua has taken the initiative to continue to focus on areas where he feels he can improve. He practices on Khan Academy and the Art of Problem solving websites for additional math studies. Both are websites aimed to help students improve their math and science knowledge.

“I’m home-schooled, so we can integrate a lot of harder stuff into our normal curriculum. So being home-schooled kind of helped,” Joshua said.

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