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Press Release: Maryland AP Participation, Achievement Leads All States

State SAT Participation Continues To Rise; Act Scores, Participation Improves

For Immediate Release                                                        Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410.767.0486

Baltimore, MD (October 7, 2014)

Maryland students—who have led the nation in AP success for eight years—recorded more improvement in both Advanced Placement (AP) assessment participation and success in 2014, according to newly released data.

In data released today, Maryland ranks first in the nation among the percentage of public high school juniors and seniors to score a three or higher—22.0 percent.  The national average is 13.2 percent.  Maryland also ranks first among states in the percentage of public high school 11th and 12th graders who took an AP exam: 35.2 percent.  Only Washington, DC, ranked higher at 38.6 percent.

Hitting a score of 3-5 qualifies students to receive credit at many colleges and universities. The data was released today by the College Board, which administers AP and other national programs.

“Here in Maryland, we've made the better choice to set a goal to improve student achievement and college readiness by 25 percent by the end of 2015-- today's announcement is further proof that our students are achieving results,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. "Congratulations to our students and educators on this terrific achievement. Thanks to their hard work, Maryland students are better prepared for successful college careers, building a stronger future for our State, and leading the nation in winning the new economy.”

More than 66,000 Maryland students took at least one AP test last year, an increase of 1.5 percent over 2013, and the number of exams taken jumped 1.1 percent to 124,096.  Even with of the increase in participation, the number of student test scores in the high-achieving ranges of 3-5 increased by 1.9 percent to 76,956. 

“Every Maryland student should have access to college-level coursework, and Advanced Placement is one way to provide high-quality preparation for postsecondary education and career-training after high school,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.  “It is inspiring to see Maryland students taking on the challenge of AP coursework and succeeding.”

Maryland is committed to expanding access to challenging coursework for students throughout the State.  AP participation is up across racial subgroups.  African American students tallied a 10 percent increase in participation, and Hispanic student participation also jumped 10 percent in just one year.

Maryland has ranked first in the College Board’s annual “AP Report to the Nation” for the past eight years.  College Board officials said they will release 2014 rankings early in 2015.

SAT Results

Scores on the SAT exam declined, as participation increased dramatically.  Participation in the SAT surged 3.2 percent from 2013 to 2014, as nearly 50,000 students (49,665) took the test in Maryland last year.  The State has been working to increase participation of underrepresented minority group students over the past five years, and that effort has paid off.  There was a 4.9 percent increase in African American participation last year, and a 13.1 percent jump in Hispanic student participation.

Maryland’s composite SAT score fell 15 points to 1468 on the 2400-point scale.  Maryland students scored a 492 in critical reading (down 5 points, compared to last year), 495 in mathematics (down 5 points), and 481 in writing (also down 5 points).

ACT Results

As Maryland increased participation in SAT, the nation’s other major college readiness exam—the ACT—also has seen a dramatic increase in student participation in the State.  This year’s ACT scores also took a leap forward.

The number of Maryland seniors taking the ACT has increased dramatically over the past five years—rising from 11,924 in 2010 to 14,080 last spring.  In those five years, the number of African American students taking the tests has grown from 3,192 to 3,602, and the number of Hispanic students has increased from 639 to 1,084.

According to recently released data, Maryland’s ACT composite score rose to 22.6 out of a possible high score of 36 in 2014, compared to 22.3 in 2013, and Maryland student scores jumped in all four tested areas (English, math, reading, and science). 

At the same time, the national composite inched up from 20.9 to 21.0.  Maryland students rank ahead of the national averages in all four testing categories.


The College Board data release also looked at data from the PSAT/NMSQT test, an assessment typically given to sophomores and juniors.  Among the results:

  • Scores on the PSAT/NMSQT test were mostly unchanged for juniors taking the exam. The mean critical reading score for juniors dipped 0.4 points to 46.6; the mean math score was up 0.2 points to 47.3, and the mean writing skills score fell 0.7 points to 45.1.  National scores were similarly flat.
  • Scores registered by students taking the PSAT as sophomores also showed little movement.  While the critical reading mean dropped 0.6 points to 41.8, the math mean score improved 0.4 points to 42.5 points, and the writing skills mean was off 0.4 points to 40.1 points.


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