SAT scores dip as more take tests
Juniors have the opportunity to try assessment free of charge again
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
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.