SAT scores dip as more take tests

Ju­niors have the op­por­tu­nity to try as­sess­ment free of charge again

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­

More than 1,700 St. Mary’s pub­lic school stu­dents took the SAT dur­ing the last school year, and scores dropped only slightly com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year de­spite nearly four times more test tak­ers.

Alex Jaf­furs, pub­lic schools’ as­sess­ment and ac­count­abil­ity of­fi­cer, said Tues­day that school staff will “again be of­fer­ing the SAT for all 11th-graders dur­ing the [cur­rent] school year.” Those tests are pro­vided at no cost to the stu­dents.

In ad­di­tion, all ninth-graders had the chance to take the PSAT for free ear­lier this month, to help them pre­pare for the SAT later in high school, he said.

Jaf­furs said about 1,730 St. Mary’s stu­dents com­pleted SAT as­sess­ments dur­ing the 2017-2018 school year, with a mean score of 1087. He said the mean over­all score

for tests taken dur­ing the 2016-2017 school year was 1143, with only 450 stu­dents tak­ing the test.

He said that last school year, the mean English score was 543 and the mean math score was 544. “This rep­re­sents a de­cline” from the previ-

ous year’s mean English and math scores of 571 and 572.

Jaf furs said one rea­son for the “slight de­crease” is a re­sult of school ad­min­is­tra­tion “of­fer­ing the SAT for all 11th-graders.”

Su­per­in­ten­dent Scott Smith said at the

Sept. 12

St. Mary’s school board meet­ing “this was the first time the SAT was of­fered dur­ing the school day” to 11th-graders, which meant stu­dents didn’t

have to worry about trans­porta­tion or sign­ing up for a week­end test.

Jaf­furs said in Septem­ber the mean score for the English and math por­tions of the test “did not fall con­sid­er­ably” de­spite the nearly four-fold in­crease in stu­dents tak­ing the test.

He said that ev­ery 11th-grader “en­rolled at SMCPS has a shot at this

test,” adding that he’s heard that stu­dents are more em­pow­ered to pur­sue a col­lege de­gree af­ter tak­ing the test.

Jaf­furs said other than Khan Academy, an on­line re­source to pre­pare for the SAT, stu­dents can also study for the test through the pub­lic schools’ on­line Apex learn­ing re­source for free.

Statewide, Mary­land’s SAT re­sults im­proved across the board in 2018, ac­cord­ing to a Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion re­lease sent last week.

The mean SAT score for grad­u­at­ing se­niors in Mary­land pub­lic schools in­creased by 20 points for the class of 2018, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased to­day, the re­lease states.

The com­pos­ite score for grad­u­at­ing Mary­land pub­lic school stu­dents im­proved to 1066 for the class of 2018, up from 1046 in 2017. That com­pares to a na­tional pub­lic school av­er­age of 1049, up three points from 1044 in 2017.

A record num­ber of grad­u­at­ing stu­dents took the exam, with an es­ti­mated 40,639 mem­bers of the Class of 2018, com­pared to 36,459 in 2017, the re­lease states.

Karen Sal­mon, state su­per­in­ten­dent of schools, said in the re­lease the as­sess­ment re­sults “in­di­cate a grow­ing num­ber of Mary­land stu­dents are bet­ter pre­pared for col­lege or the work­force as they com­plete high school.”

“These tests serve as an im­por­tant yard­stick for our stu­dents as they ready them­selves for life af­ter grad­u­a­tion,” Sal­mon said. “The bet­ter pre­pared our grad­u­ates, the more likely they are to en­ter col­lege or their first job with a clear path­way to suc­cess.”

The Col­lege Board re­leased last week 2018 data for the SAT, which un­der­went con­sid­er­able changes two years ago. The or­ga­ni­za­tion dropped a re­quired sep­a­rate writ­ing test, which it added a decade ago, and changed other facets of the test at that time, the re­lease states.



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