More seniors take SAT, but scores are flat

Md. results same as 2004: 511 for verbal

515 for math

August 31, 2005|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

More Maryland high school seniors took the SAT than ever in the last academic year, but performance remained flat in the latest round of scores for the Class of 2005 -- the last graduating class to take the old version of the college-entrance exam.

Average scores for the state were unchanged from 2004, 511 in the verbal section and 515 in math, according to results released yesterday by the College Board. Each test was scored on a scale of 200 to 800.

"I always want more and more and more, but I'm pleased that there is steady growth in the participation and our scores have not diminished," said state Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, who emphasized the 71 percent participation rate in a presentation to the state Board of Education yesterday.

Although African-Americans made modest gains on the exam, they and minority students other than Asians still lag behind their white counterparts. African-American students in Maryland scored an average of 860, while their white counterparts posted a 1095 average.

Nevertheless, African-American participation in Maryland rose 17 percent from last year. And the scores of those students jumped 4 points, to 434, in verbal and 3 points, to 426, in math.

"While that's not a lot, it is significant," said Roni Jolley, the College Board staff liaison for the state Department of Education.

Nationally, College Board officials praised the continued improvement among all student groups in math. Math scores overall increased by 2 points, to an all-time high of 520. Verbal scores remained at 508 from last year to this year.

In March, the College Board rolled out a new version of the SAT, eliminating the analogies section and adding higher-level math, more reading passages and a new writing section with an essay.

In Maryland, despite overall flat scores statewide, a higher percentage of students took the test than their counterparts in other states -- 44,458 seniors, or 71 percent of the graduating class, participated. That was an increase from 68 percent last year. Nationwide, 49 percent of seniors took the test.

Across the Baltimore region, some school districts saw SAT scores remain steady or decline slightly.

Verbal scores in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties stayed the same; math scores dropped.

Carroll, Harford and Howard County saw their scores improve from last year.

Howard County's average SAT score broke the 1100-mark on a 1600-point scale for the first time -- a 16-point jump from last year, to 1113.

"It's a nice seat to be sitting in today," said Terry Alban, Howard's director of student assessment and program evaluation.

Howard County did not provide a school-by-school breakdown of scores.

Students in Carroll County, who outscored statewide and national averages, performed better than last year, with an average score of 1046, an increase of 9 points.

"These aren't huge jumps, but on the whole the trend is upward," said Gregory Bricca, the district's research and accountability director.

In Baltimore County, the average verbal score remained at 509, and the math score dropped by 2 points, to 516. "The more participation you have, the more likely your scores are to go down," said Charles A. Herndon, a district spokesman.

Baltimore County did not provide a school-by-school breakdown of scores.

Anne Arundel County's high school students fared slightly worse this year on the math portion of the exam -- scoring an average of 533, compared with 536 last year. But the verbal scores were identical in 2004 and 2005: 523.

In Harford County, the mean verbal score was 511, up from 508 the previous year. The mean math score rose 9 points, to 521. An all-time high of 1,564 students, or 59.2 percent of the senior class, took the test.

Baltimore school system spokeswoman Edie House said the city system had not received its SAT scores.

Staff writers Anica Butler, Gina Davis, Liz Kay, Sara Neufeld and Ted Shelsby contributed to this article.

............................2004 2005 2004 2005

....................... Verbal Verbal Math Math

ANNE ARUNDEL

Annapolis 525 516 529 523

Arundel 503 511 511 512

Broadneck 548 552 542 546

Chesapeake 502 514 535 536

Glen Burnie 482 481 505 495

Meade 490 488 492 492

North County 494 491 508 490

Northeast 503 529 510 548

Old Mill 508 506 531 521

Severna Park 560 563 578 580

South River 547 541 563 559

Southern 539 523 557 544

CARROLL

Century 522 524 529 541

Francis Scott Key 512 506 523 519

Liberty 525 522 541 539

North Carroll 505 515 507 524

South Carroll 514 518 529 540

Westminster 510 521 510 529

Winters Mill --- 505 --- 505

HARFORD

Aberdeen 466 475 455 479

Bel Air 524 531 525 534

C. Milton Wright 543 537 552 549

Edgewood 489 479 485 469

Fallston 515 527 526 542

Harford Technical 456 480 472 501

Havre de Grace 495 503 494 516

Joppatowne 471 477 462 479

North Harford 506 508 518 528

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