Waukee High School Junior Earns Highest Possible ACT Score


Ashley Sjurson, junior at Waukee High School

Waukee High School junior Ashley Sjurson ended 2015 on a high note after being notified on December 22, 2015, she had earned the highest possible ACT Composite score of 36. On average, less than one-tenth of 1% of all test takers earn the top score. Among ACT-tested US high school graduates in the class of 2015, only 1,598 out of 1.92 million students earned an ACT Composite score of 36.

This was Sjurson’s third time taking the ACT test. She took it for the first time in 8th grade and earned an ACT Composite score of 28 and then took it again in 10th grade and earned an ACT Composite score of 35.

“This test takes a good memory and concentration,” Sjurson said. “This time I was able to tutor some of my friends and we ended up helping each other prepare.”

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1–36 and a student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores. Some students also take the optional ACT writing test, but the score for that test is reported separately and is not included in the ACT Composite score.

ACT test scores are accepted by all major US colleges. Exceptional scores of 36 provide colleges with evidence of student readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.

In a letter from the ACT chief executive officer recognizing this exceptional achievement, the CEO stated, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. While test scores are just one of the multiple criteria that most colleges consider when making admission decisions, your exceptional ACT Composite score should prove helpful as you pursue your education and career goals.”

Sjurson has always enjoyed learning but her passion has always been math. Since elementary school, Sjurson has been preparing for a career in actuarial science.

“As a kid I knew I wanted a math job. I had a friend whose parents were actuaries and I saw this career as my option to get to use my natural math skills,” Sjurson said. “Once I started the APEX Foundations of Insurance and Actuarial Science class I was able to explore the field and confirm this is what I really want to do.”

Sjurson is also involved in cross country, track and show choir and is planning to attend Drake University with a double major in Actuarial Science and Education.