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Washington County SAT, ACT scores rise

more students taking exams

October 02, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Board of Education member Justin M. Hartings, right, talks with Rick Akers, left, and Washington County Public Schools Testing and Accountability Supervisor Jeremy Jakoby Tuesday following their presentation on SAT results.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The 60.3 percent of Washington County Public Schools seniors, 886 seniors, who took the SAT college entrance exam last school year is believed to be an all-time high participation rate for the school system, Testing and Accountability Supervisor Jeremy Jakoby told school board members Tuesday.

Those figures included seniors who took the exam in May and June 2012, according to presentation documents.

Board of Education member Justin Hartings congratulated the staff on the increase in seniors taking the SAT, while the composite SAT score increased one point.

“That to me is a really good sign,” Hartings said.

The figures tell him that a lot of students are reaching — or challenging themselves, and being rewarded for reaching, Hartings said.

Noting the recognition of staff, Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said, “This success really is our teachers’ success.”

The average WCPS composite SAT score went up from 1,488 in 2011 to 1,489 in 2012, according to presentation documents. The average composite SAT score in 2010 was 1,498.

The SAT has three components — critical reading, math and writing — that are each scored on a 200- to 800-point scale for a total possible score of 2,400.

The school system’s average SAT composite score in 2012 was two points higher than the Maryland average, which was 1,487, and nine points lower than the national average of 1,498, according to presentation documents. The state and national averages include scores from public, religiously affiliated, and private schools.

The number of seniors who took the SAT test in 2011 was 815, for a 53.4 percent participation rate, according to presentation documents.

For Washington County Public Schools, the average SAT math score improved seven points from 504 in 2011 to 511 in 2012, according to presentation documents. The average math score had dropped from 515 in 2010 to 504 in 2011.

“It’s a reminder to me that one year does not make a trend and these are different cohorts of kids,” Hartings said.

People shouldn’t panic too much when the scores go down and when scores go up, it’s “not time for high fives and spiking the ball in the end zone either,” Hartings said.

The school system also provided information about the ACT college prep exam, which has four parts: English, reading, math and science. A perfect score on each section is 36.

A student’s composite ACT score is an average of the student’s four test scores, according to the test’s website at www.actstudent.org.

The average ACT composite score for a WCPS student was 21.8 in 2012, up from with 21.2 in 2011.

The average 2012 ACT composite score for students in Maryland was 22.1 and nationwide was 21.1.

The average ACT English score for Washington County Public Schools in 2012 was 20.9 in 2012, up from with 20.1 in 2011.

The average ACT reading score was 22.3 in 2012, up from with 21.2 in 2011.

The average ACT math score was 21.8 in 2012, up from with 21.7 in 2011.

The average ACT science score was 21.7 in 2012, up from with 21.3 in 2011.

The average test scores for both SAT and ACT tests for the school system were based on the last test students took as some students take the college prep exams more than once.

In 2012, 145 seniors took the ACT test at least once, compared with 144 seniors in 2011. The percentage of seniors who took the exam was 9.9 percent in 2012, compared with 9.4 percent in 2011.

For the SAT, the participation percentage was determined by dividing the number of seniors who took the exam by the number of diplomas, according to presentation documents. For the ACT test, the participation percentage was reached by dividing the number of seniors that took the ACT by the number of seniors who earned a diploma at the end of that school year.

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