Maryland scores on SAT exams fell slightly again this year, in line with a nationwide trend.
The average scores composite fell five points, to 1487, this year. Students scored on average 502 on the math exam, 497 on the reading and 488 in writing, according to a CollegeBoard report released Monday. A perfect score on the exam is 2400.
Maryland composite scores in math and reading have been sliding since 2005, when the average scores were 520 and 508, respectively. When the written test was added into composite calculations in 2006, the average score was 1518; 503 in reading; 518 in math; 497 in writing.
Scores are dropping as the percentage of black and Hispanic or Latino students taking the exam increases. Historically, these two ethnic groups have fallen behind their peers on test scores.
Since 2008, the percentage of black students and Hispanic students taking the exams in the state has jumped 8.5 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively, according to a state education department memo.
The state’s focus is both on increasing participation on the SAT and ACT, as well as boosting scores of all student groups, Maryland State Department of Education spokesman Bill Reinhard said.
“Certaintly we want to push more students to take some assessment whether it is SAT or ACT, because it means they are interested in college,” Reinhard said. “And that is the goal, to see that kids are looking for something after high school, whether it is college or a career. … But they also should be prepared for it. We see a lot of students taking the test almost as an afterthought, without taking the courses need to be successful.”
In Montgomery, the mean combined score of the county’s students was 1651, up 14 points from last year and similar to 2010 scores of 1647.
Reading, math and writing scores all increased slightly compared to last year.
Still, the school system considers only half of students as college-ready when it comes to this measure, as one of the school system’s Seven Keys to College and Career Readiness is scoring a 1650 or higher on the SAT. In 2012, about half of Montgomery students, or 3,700 of 7,299 students, who took the SAT scored above 1650.
In a school system statement, Shirley Brandman, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education, celebrated the results but called for a more intense commitment to student achievement.
In Montgomery, gaps between white student scores and their black and Hispanic or Latino peers remain stagnant on the tests.
The average composite score was 1766 for white students; 1389 for black students; 1483 for Hispanic or Latino students.
In the same statement, Montgomery schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr said educators must address persistent achievement gaps.