A senior at Sky View High School scored a 36 on his ACT — the highest score possible.
Joseph Marshall, 17, said the first time he took the test he scored a 32. He took the test again in September to try and score a 34 so he could qualify for a full-ride scholarship to Utah State University. When he found out he scored a perfect 36, Marshall said he was surprised.
“I did not expect it to be that high,” he said. “I was expecting I’d get a little bit better, but not all the way.”
The ACT is a standardized test that covers math, English, reading and science and is used for college admissions and scholarships. Test takers can score between 1 and 36. According to statistics from PrepScholar in 2020, the average ACT score for the Utah population is 20.2.
During his senior year, Marshall has taken several college-level classes. He’s currently enrolled in AP calculus, two concurrent enrollment classes and two courses at Bridgerland Technical College. He said he currently has a 4.0 grade-point average.
Principal Mike Monson said he’s known Marshall most of his life, since they used to be neighbors, and called him a “great young man.”
“It’s something I could never accomplish, so I really enjoy being associated with people who can,” Monson said. “It’s pretty remarkable. To get a perfect score is very unusual. I’m really proud of him for that kind of accomplishment.”
Kyliann Erickson, who teaches Marshall’s personal finance class, said she’s proud of him as well.
Erickson said at the beginning of the trimester, she asked all of her students, “If you were to tell me one thing that would help me remember who you are, what would it be?” She said Marshall’s answer was, “I’m an ingenious idiot. Smart sometimes, dumb other times.”
“He is that kid that you don’t ever have to worry about — always on time, always in class, and always taking in what he is learning and applying it,” Erickson said. “He will definitely do great things in whatever he decides to do and wherever life takes him.”
Andrea Thompson, one of his teachers from earlier in the school year, taught Marshall’s U.S. government class and his English 1010 class. She said she wasn’t surprised to hear about Marshall’s perfect score and that “it makes sense.”
“Joe is really, really sharp,” she said. “He gets it to the point where I knew I never had to worry about him not getting it.”
Thompson said she remembered one time when Marshall uniquely completed an essay assignment in English 1010.
“He did it in a personal unique way that shows that he thinks about things differently than a lot of students do,” she said.
After graduating from Sky View, Marshall said he will serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When he returns, he said he wants to attend USU and study either mechanical engineering or electrical engineering.