Students through the eighth grade take the NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) tests, and freshmen, sophomores, and juniors take the PSAT each year. Sophomores also take the pre-ACT test. These tests do not determine if a student progresses to the next grade, but rather they are used to evaluate areas of strength and weakness in each student and in the ACS curriculum in order to better serve each individual student and to improve the school's offerings.
The PSAT taken in eleventh grade can begin the process for those students who qualify to compete in the National Merit Scholarship program. A disproportionately high number of ACS students earn National Merit recognition. Before their senior year, all ACHS students must take either the ACT or SAT (or both) and present their results to the senior counselor. If certain pre-determined benchmark numbers are not met, students will be enrolled in English/reading or math labs as needed to improve their scores. During the high school years, the senior counselor advises students on these tests, helps them with interpretation of scores, and discusses possible avenues to improve their results.