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Uni High class earns highest average ACT score

John Hedeman, University Laboratory High School
(217) 333-2870; jdhedeman@uni.uiuc.edu

Jeff Unger, News Bureau
(217) 333-1085;j-unger@illinois.edu

8/22/2001

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The 2001 graduating class of University Laboratory High School, the laboratory school of the University of Illinois, achieved the highest average composite score in the nation on the ACT exam, among U.S. high schools with 30 or more students from that class taking the exam.

More than 45 students in the 2001 class at University Laboratory High School took the ACT exam, earning an average composite score of 31.6.

Uni High also recorded the highest average composite score in the nation in 1997.

The ACT assessment is one of the two major standardized college entrance exams taken by U.S. high school students. It consists of four multiple-choice tests of educational development – English, mathematics, reading and science reasoning. The highest possible composite score that a student can earn on the test is 36.

Across the nation, 8,976 high schools had 30 or more 2001 graduates take the exam.

In Illinois, the 2001 average ACT composite score was 21.6, while the national average ACT composite score was 21. Graduating classes at the laboratory school have earned average composite scores above 29 in each of the past nine years.

"Uni High students work exceptionally hard and are committed to academic achievement," said John Hedeman, principal and director of Uni High. "We are proud of all of our students because each one of them contributed to this national recognition."

Other than its regular academic curriculum, Uni High doesn’t offer any specific courses to prepare students for the ACT exam. During their sophomore year, students can elect to take the PLAN exam, a test similar to the ACT that is offered to high schools across the nation by ACT Inc. Nearly 100 percent of the school’s students elect to take the exam.

Established in 1921 as part of the curriculum laboratory, a research unit of the
U. of I. College of Education, Uni High serves as a site for curriculum research while providing a model college-preparatory program for academically gifted students. The school counts three Nobel Prize winners and a Pulitzer Prize winner among its alumni.

Students at Uni High take a five-year accelerated high school curriculum that begins with the subfreshman year, a combined seventh- and eighth-grade experience thought to be the oldest gifted education experiment in the country. The school’s fall enrollment is expected to be about 300 students.

As a laboratory school, Uni High is a public school eligible for state aid, but because its enrollment is not determined by residence, the school does not receive any local property- or corporate-tax support. Additional funds are provided by parents, alumni and friends, as well as from corporate sources and grants.