Howard seniors gain higher SAT scores Class of 1996 tops 1995 graduates in math, verbal

August 28, 1996|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Howard County's Class of 1996 earned higher math and verbal scores on the national Scholastic Assessment Test than did the class of 1995, the county school system announced yesterday.

The improvement by Howard students on the SAT topped the average gains posted by last spring's high school graduates in Maryland and in the rest of the country.

The SAT is an examination used in the college admissions process, and it is intended to indicate how students will perform academically during their first year of college. Typically, 70 percent to 80 percent of Howard graduating seniors take the exam.

The average math score posted by this spring's graduates was 546, three points higher than the average score of the Class of 1995.

The average verbal score for last year's seniors rose one point over the previous class, to 534.

"The three-point improvement in math is part of a trend of increasing scores over the past five years," said Leslie Walker-Bartnick, the county's supervisor of testing. "It is more of a significant gain" than the one-point improvement on verbal scores.

Nevertheless, the improvement in verbal scores was the second straight year that Howard seniors earned higher scores on that portion of the exam -- after a streak of three years of declining scores.

The Howard results -- for both 1996 and 1995 -- reflect a "re-centering" of the SAT scores by the College Board, which administers the exam. The average SAT score has been dropping for the past two decades, so the board decided to boost all of the scores to return the national average to 500.

In Maryland, the average score of college-bound seniors rose by one point on both the verbal and math portions of the SAT, to 507 for verbal and 504 for math.

The average national verbal score was 505 and the average national math score was 508, an increase of one points and two points, respectively.

The average results for individual Howard high schools will not be ready for release until November, Walker-Bartnick said.

Pub Date: 8/28/96

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