It was supposed to be just a practice run before taking the test for real later on.
So when Ian Gould, a junior at Shawnee Mission East, wound up with a perfect ACT composite score of 36, he was “pretty surprised.”
“I suppose I knew I was capable, but I was treating this particular test more as a practice,” Gould said, adding that his class was scheduled to take the ACT about a week later. “I didn’t prepare as much as I could have.”
What’s more, his calculator ran out of battery power during the math portion of the test, so he ended up working some of the problems by hand. He missed a few of the answers in that section — but not enough to keep him from a 36.
“I really was surprised because I didn’t think this was going to be the score I would be sending to colleges, but now here we are,” he added.
Another Shawnee Mission student, sophomore Chase Horner at Shawnee Mission South, earned a perfect score in recent weeks as well.
Their achievement is “significant and rare,” noted Marten Roorda, ACT chief executive officer, in congratulatory letters. Roorda wrote that only about two-tenths of 1 percent of all test takers earn the top score. The numbers aren’t in for 2019 yet, but for last year’s class, that means only 3,741 out of more than 1.9 million students who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36.
The last time Gould took the ACT was the summer after seventh grade; at that time, he got a score of 26.
“We’re super, super excited for him,” said Erin Gould, his mother. “I don’t even know if proud is the right word. Personally, I just really admire the effort that he puts in.”
She also wanted to extend her appreciation to her son’s teachers “that have helped him along the way.”
“He was born with a gift, but I think his love of learning and his interest in doing well in school is a credit to the teachers that he’s had,” she said.
Gould is not done with standardized testing. Although he recently started higher education hunting and has shown interest in Washington University in the St. Louis area, he plans to take the SAT at some point
He is also involved in student council (he was just elected student body treasurer) as well as debate and forensics, and also participates in the quiz show “Categories” (his school team won the championship this year). He is a member of his school’s informal Model United Nations club as well as YMCA Youth and Government. He also volunteers for the Giving Brick, his father Matthew Gould’s charity that gives LEGO bricks to children.