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Press Release: State SAT, AP Scores & Participation Hold Steady As ACT Rises

Maryland Students Increase in Scores, Participation for ACT

For Immediate Release                                          Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486

Baltimore, MD (September 3, 2015)

Maryland students appear to be shifting their attention to the ACT exam, after decades of the SAT as the dominant college readiness exam in the State.

In data released today, Maryland saw a small drop in SAT participation, with a 1.7 percent dip in student tests between 2014 and 2015.  Scores have flattened—down 1 point on critical reading in 2015, 2 points in mathematics, and 3 points in writing.  National scores showed a slightly greater decline.

Meanwhile, Maryland participation and success in the ACT assessment has been on the rise. A quarter of Maryland’s graduating seniors took the ACT last year, according to data released last week—more than triple the number of students taking the exam in 2005.

At the same time, Maryland student scores on the competing ACT exam have been on the rise.  Maryland’s composite ACT score hit 22.7, compared to 21.0 for the nation.  Maryland’s composite score was 20.5 in 2005, compared to a national composite of 20.9.

The College Board, which administers the SAT, also released Advanced Placement (AP) data.  Maryland saw both participation and success on AP flatten after more than a decade of steady improvement.

More than 65,000 students took at least one AP test last year, a dip of 1.4 percent compared to 2014.  The number of exams taken fell less than a percent to 122,971, after more years of increases.  The number of student test scores in the high-achieving ranges of 3-5 dipped by 1 percent to 76,148.  Attaining a score of 3, 4 or 5 qualifies students to receive credit at many colleges and universities.

SAT Results

Participation on the SAT exam had been rising steadily until this year, increasing 3.2 percent from 2013 to 2014, as nearly 50,000 students took the test in Maryland that year.  The number fell to 48,845 in 2015.  Participation was down among students in most underrepresented minority groups this year, although participation for all groups is still above where it was five years ago.

Maryland’s composite SAT score fell 6 points to 1462.  That followed a more dramatic drop in 2014, when scores dipped 15 points. 

Among public school students, there was less of a decline in scores in 2015.  The composite score dropped 4 points, losing 1 point in critical reading, 1 point in mathematics, and 2 points in writing, for a composite score of 1,434.

SAT and AP results are scheduled to be released today here.

ACT Results

As Maryland decreased participation in SAT, the nation’s other major college readiness exam—the ACT—has been making dramatic gains in participation.  Scores also have been on an upward trajectory.

Nearly 16,000 Maryland students (15,753) took the exam in 2015, compared to 14,080 last year.  Numbers have been on the rise for all ethnic groups.  For example, since 2011, the number of African American students taking the tests has grown from 3,520 to 4,051, while the number of Hispanic student test takers has grown from 859 to 1,214.

According to the recently released data, Maryland’s ACT composite score rose to 22.7 out of a possible high score of 36 in 2015, compared to 22.6 in 2014, and 22.1 in 2011.  Maryland student scores jumped in three of four tested areas (English, reading, and science), while staying the same in mathematics.  Maryland students rank ahead of the national averages in all four testing categories.

ACT results are available here.

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