Archive for Thursday, September 2, 1999


September 2, 1999


A Lawrence High student who wants to be a computer scientist obtained the highest score possible on the ACT college-entrance exam.

Lawrence High senior Bill Kinnersley said Wednesday that he tends to perform admirably on tests.

"I seem to do pretty well," he said modestly.

Kinnersley, 16, was the only student in Kansas and among just 60 students in the United States to earn a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college-entrance exam administered in June.

About 7,000 Kansas students and 354,000 U.S. students took the test at the same time as Kinnersley.

The state's average composite score on sections in English, math, reading and science reasoning was 21.5, while the national average score was 21. Lawrence High's average was 22.9 and Free State High's was 23.5.

"It is a pure delight to know that one of our own would be one of 60 students in the country to accomplish this extraordinary feat," said Kathleen Williams, superintendent of Lawrence schools.

Kinnersley figured he had done well on the test.

"I thought I got a 35 or 36. I was pretty happy."

He did worry about a portion of the test devoted to critical reading. He was troubled by the task of finding the "best" answer, which could be a subjective process reflecting the thinking of test developers.

"That's my big weakness," he said.

Kinnersley is taking math and Latin courses at Kansas University this semester. He plans to attend college full-time -- perhaps the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -- to study computer science.

His parents, William and Nancy Kinnersley, both work in the computer field. Dad is at Sprint and mom is at KU.

"They didn't try to push me along that much," Kinnersley said. "They let me go along at my own pace."

-- Tim Carpenter's phone message number is 832-7155. His e-mail address is

Commenting has been disabled for this item.