County students' reading, writing SAT scores rise, math scores dip

September 07, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Reading and writing scores are up, but math scores are down for students in Washington County Public Schools taking the SAT, according to a report presented Thursday to the Board of Education.

The preliminary report compares average SAT scores from 2006 to 2008.

It shows a five-point increase, from 495 to 500, between 2007 and 2008 in the critical reading, or verbal, section of the test; and a two-point rise in writing scores, from 491 to 493, over the same period.

Average math scores, however, fell five points, from 520 to 515, between 2007 and 2008, according to the report.

Donna Hanlin, assistant superintendent for secondary education, reassured school board members that the drop in math scores is not a cause for concern.

"It's not at a point where we're alarmed at this point," Hanlin said. "But we want to make sure this is not more than a blip and is not a trend."


Despite falling this year, the county's math scores still are higher than state and national averages for public school students, according to the report.

Critical reading and writing scores also are higher than state and national averages.

Overall, Washington County Public Schools SAT takers earned an average score of 1,508 on the test in 2008, 13 points higher than the national public school average and 30 points higher than the Maryland public school average, according to the report.

In 2008, 724 Washington County Public Schools seniors, or slightly less than half of the graduating class, took the SAT at least once, Hanlin said. Normally, about half of graduating seniors take the test, she said.

Hanlin said a survey of graduating seniors showed that many students said they did not take the test because they were planning to attend Hagerstown Community College, which doesn't require the SAT.

In 2007, about 50 percent of graduating seniors took the SAT, while 40 percent went on to four-year colleges after graduating, Hanlin said.

A more detailed report on the county's SAT scores will be presented to the school board during an upcoming annual report, Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said.

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