Students find success in both SAT, ACT despite statewide gap

Students find success in both SAT, ACT despite statewide gap


As a state, Indiana has traditionally had a low average on the SAT, ranking at number 41 in the country with an average composite score of 1484 according to a study conducted by However, the state does have one of the highest average scores on the ACT tests of any state. A composite score of 22.8 earns Indiana the number 14 spot in the nation, an impressive feat considering the mediocre performance on the SAT. CHS, however, does not reflect either trend.Indiana ACT Score Report

With an average composite SAT score of 1648 and an ACT composite score of 25.2, CHS is ranked as the number 622nd best school in the country by U.S. News, within the top 1.7 percent of all high schools in the country. Kyle Weaver, National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist and senior, said this school has left him well-prepared for both of the tests.

“I know that the teachers and classes at Carmel are more challenging than (those of) other districts, from what I’ve heard from people who’ve moved here,” Weaver said. “I also have a lot of really great peers who are really hardworking kids, and I think that all contributes. I also think that a lot of my knowledge comes from stuff I do at home, like reading.”

According to Stephanie Payne, one of the counselors responsible for administering the SAT, a major contributor to the large gap between the rankings is that Indiana simply has a much larger number of people taking the SAT tests than the ACT tests. In fact, only 32 percent of Indiana high school graduates have taken the ACTs while, on the other hand, 69 percent have taken the SAT.

“There is a difference (in the tests), and there is also a big difference in the number of students who take the tests,” Payne said. “More students take the SAT tests because we in Indiana have always been an SAT state, so that is the test that we’ve always encouraged our students to take more and see which one they do better on. There’s a higher number of students who take the SAT, so you’re going to have a larger pool of students, which can bring the score down. Also, most of the students taking the ACTs in Indiana are (Indiana’s) stronger students, so it drives (Indiana’s) scores higher.”

Payne said she has the same opinion as Weaver when it comes to the importance of factors outside of the classroom.

“I think that a lot of it has to do with our location and the amount of support that our kids have from the parents that are highly educated. A lot of the Indiana community isn’t as fortunate to have that,” she said.Know the Facts

Although CHS does not offer some of the same SAT and ACT prep classes other schools may offer, there are several classes offered after school to prepare for the exams. These classes involve taking practice tests and learning test taking strategies. Payne also said she believes many of the students at CHS are self-motivated and have parents who are willing to pay for out-of-school classes.

“It’s not a fun Saturday morning, but it is definitely something you have to do if you’re planning on going to college,” Payne said. “I definitely recommend taking both tests. Some kids do better on one test than the other.”