News 12 This Morning / Friday, Aug. 23, 2013
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- Recently released numbers show South Carolina high school students did better on the ACT this year. In our area, Aiken County did well and Aiken High School had the highest score.
"I've gone through the good times, and I've gone through the bad times," said Aiken High School Principal Garen Cofer.
After seven years at Aiken High School, Principal Cofer is enjoying good times right now as the school celebrates having the highest ACT scores in our area.
"We had a really good academic school year last year and we're just kind of piggybacking off of that this year," he said. "We hear so much bad stuff that goes on in schools -- it's just always good to celebrate the good."
The national ACT score average is at an all-time low of 20.9, which is out of 36 points. The state of South Carolina scored below that with a 20.4, but Aiken High scored above the average with a 22.8.
Cofer says a lot of different factors went into the high score.
"We do workshops. We have people who we pay to come in and help these students understand how to take the test, the importance of the test," he explained.
Another force he says helped was the guidance department and folks like Senior Guidance Counselor Linda Strojan.
"It was maybe a surprise to us but, we are very, very excited about it," Strojan said.
She says one tool the counselors arm their students with is understanding the differences between the ACT and the SAT.
"We encourage them to take both because they are very different tests," she said.
Strojan says the SAT gives students a bit more time while the ACT is faster paced.
"I tell the kids when they take the test it's kind of like Jeopardy," she explained. "It's very fast paced. It is what do you know now."
Now, Cofer is focused on continuing this success in the future.
"It trickles down," he said. "We have ninth graders just entering the building, they need to see the success of the students in front of them."