Howard Students Excel On Sat

Gains On All Sections Beat State, National Averages

August 30, 2009|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,

Howard County's Class of 2009 improved on all sections of the SAT, outpacing the state and national average, according to data released Tuesday by the College Board.

This is the second straight year that Howard County has improved in every section of the test.

Howard County's critical reading scores increased four points from 540 to 544; mathematics from 557 to 561; and writing from 544 to 546. Last year, Howard students improved the most in writing with a seven-point jump.

Howard's average combined score of 1,652 exceeded the national average of 1,511 and the Maryland average of 1,497.

Howard County bucked the national and state trend of a slight drop in overall scores.

"These results further enhance the lead our students have held over the national and statewide scores in all sections of the SAT over time, and they underscore the effectiveness of our instructional programs in preparing our students for their futures," Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin said in a prepared statement.

"It really affirms that we are preparing our kids," said schools spokeswoman Patti Caplan. "We really are preparing our students for the future."

Ninety percent of Howard County graduates go on to pursue some type of post-secondary education, according to Caplan.

There have been a number of efforts in the school system to encourage all students to take the test and prepare them to excel on it.

For example, Caryn Lasser, a two-time PTSA president at Atholton High School, led an effort to offer a PTSA-sponsored SAT prep class at a reduced price so more students could participate. The school system has also offered programs to help minority students prepare to take the test.

A more complete analysis of SAT data, including individual school results and achievement among minority students, will be presented to the school board during its meeting Sept. 24.

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