Royal OakJune 18, 2012
Local middle-schooler rocks ACT
By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer
ROYAL OAK — The ACT exam is tough enough for high school juniors and seniors, but a handful of local middle school students exceeded expectations on the tests this spring.
Royal Oak resident Madeline Bross, 13, just finished eighth grade, but can already tout that she scored a 27 composite score on the ACT, which is well above the 19 state average and 21 national average for a test that has a perfect score of a 36.
“She received high scores on the MEAP test, so she was invited to participate in the Northwestern University Midwest Academic Talent Search,” said her mother, Mary Ellen Bross.
Madeline was one of 5,000 Michigan sixth- through eighth-graders invited to participate in Northwestern’s MATS after performing well on the MEAP test. Although the top scorers weren’t ranked, she was honored May 19 at Michigan State University’s 14th annual HATS Off program in East Lansing for being among the top 200 students who scored a 30 or higher on either a single portion of the exam or as a composite. She scored a 31 in the reading section.
“It was a lot longer,” Madeline said of how the ACT compared to eighth-grade tests. “I am in algebra class right now, so I did know some of the things. Science was a lot tougher.”
Madeline had been among the several thousand students who took the ACT as a seventh-grader last year. She scored a composite of 21 then.
“I guess I just learned more,” Madeline said. “They both seemed similar both years.”
All eighth-graders at Royal Oak Middle School took the ACT Explore exam this year as a sort of watered-down trial run for the exam they’d be taking at the end of high school. Madeline scored 21 of 25 on that. She attributes much of her studying habits to both her teachers and her mother.
“A lot of my teachers have been making flashcards on a site called Quizlet,” Madeline said, adding that she takes quizzes at home with her mother. “I try to think about different points I try to focus on and highlight them. I really like English. I like to read and I’m pretty good at writing.”
Mary Ellen, a social worker for Utica Community Schools, said education has been a big part of the Bross household since she adopted Madeline from China when she was 5 months old.
“Ever since she was little, my brother and my boyfriends would play word games with her,” Mary Ellen said. “I’m so proud of her and feel blessed to have her in my life.”
Madeline, who plays piano in her free time, wasn’t the only ROMS student to be honored. Allison Spout and Ryan Bills were also among the top 200 Michigan middle-schoolers, and at least four others took the ACT.
“It’s amazing to see how many of these bright students there are,” Mary Ellen said.
Both Bross family members thought the early ACT trial would be beneficial in the long run, even if Madeline hadn’t learned everything ninth- through 11th-graders would know.
“My mom wanted me to try it, and I thought it would be a good idea too because you’d get to see what you’ll get in high school,” Madeline said. “I think it’s a very good idea. It shows kids they have the potential to do well.”
Madeline, who had all A’s this school year and was the only student representative on ROMS’s new Positive Behavior and Incentives Support Committee, said she was most positively influenced in the classroom by Oak Ridge Elementary fourth-grade teacher Dave Stafford when she was younger. She plans to take honors classes for the four core subjects as a freshman at Royal Oak High School in the fall, along with Spanish 5/6 after taking four semesters of Spanish in middle school.
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