Carroll SAT scores improve 924 average beats state, national scores for 1993

August 20, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

In the Aug. 20 Carroll County editions, the average SAT score for the Class of 1993 at Francis Scott Key High School was listed incorrectly. The school's average score was 890.

* The Sun regrets the error.

The Carroll County graduating class of 1993 scored 23 points higher, on average, on the Scholastic Aptitude Test than did the previous class, continuing a general trend, school officials said yesterday.

Of all Carroll graduates this spring, 58.8 percent took the SAT. They scored a combined average of 924 for the verbal and math portions of the test, compared with averages of 909 for the state and 902 for the nation.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The highest possible combined score is 1,600, the lowest is 400.

Carroll County's average this year is the highest since 1982, except for 1985, said Judith Backes, supervisor of assessment.

"This year our scores look quite good," Dr. Backes said. "Generally what you see is an upward trend. "You see some dips, but it's basically a nice, slow, upward trend."

For each high school, the average combined score this year was:

* Francis Scott Key -- 809.

* Liberty -- 920.

* North Carroll -- 929.

* South Carroll -- 902.

* Westminster -- 944.

Dr. Backes said that differences of fewer than 10 points are not usually significant. Scores at smaller high schools, such as Francis Scott Key, can be greatly influenced by one or two students.

For example, Key had an average score of 909 last year, compared with 809 this year. However, a greater percentage of Key seniors took the test this year.

The percentage of test-takers is important in considering the trend of scores, she said.

Carroll's participation of 58.8 percent this year is the highest it has been since at least 1988, but it is still lower than the state average of 66 percent. The national average is 43 percent.

"You're encouraging more kids to take the test" so that they will have an opportunity to go to college, Dr. Backes said.

In 1988, 48.6 percent of seniors took the test, and scored an average of 914. This year, 58.8 percent took it and scored 10 points higher.

Dr. Backes said scores are improving because of increased parent awareness and efforts by the schools to better prepare students.

For example, students are encouraged not to take the test until at least the end of their junior year.

The hope is that by then, they will have taken a sequence of college-preparatory courses in math and English.

Peter B. McDowell, director of secondary education, said

statistics show clearly that students who have taken such courses score higher on the SAT.

That direct relationship is a good motivator for students, he said.

"That encourages kids to extend themselves," he said.

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