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Md. graduates' ACT scores up

School system does not collect information for county

School system does not collect information for county

August 16, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Maryland high school graduates who took the ACT during the last year improved their scores over the previous year, and scored higher than national averages, according to ACT officials.

The state's 2006 graduates earned an average composite score of 21.4 on the college admission and placement exam, up from 21 last year and higher than any previous year since 1991. The ACT is scored on a scale of 1 to 36.

The number of Maryland graduates taking the test also increased, officials said.

Information on how many Washington County graduates took the test and how they scored is not collected by the school system, said Bob Brown, coordinator for testing and accountability. He said 70 to 80 county students take the test each year.

Brown said the number is so low that the data would not produce information of statistical importance to the school system.

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About 700 to 800 of the county's 1,300 graduates take the SAT, another college-entrance exam, each year, Brown said. Those scores are tracked by the school system. The majority of students who take the ACT also take the SAT, he said.

He said Maryland's colleges overwhelmingly prefer the SAT as an entrance exam. West Virginia schools, however, prefer the ACT, and the majority of Washington County students who take the ACT plan to attend a college in West Virginia, Brown said.

In order for data from Washington County graduates to be useful, about 650 students, or half of the county's graduating class, would have to take the ACT.

"It's just not statistically relevant for such a small group," Brown said. "I don't have the data to drive the decision making."

In Maryland, 7,758 of the state's 2006 high school graduates took the ACT at some point in their high school career, a 6 percent increase from last year and a 23 percent increase from 2002, ACT officials said.

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