ACT Participation and Performance Increase for Class of 2015

August 26, 2015

For the fourth consecutive year, ACT scores improved for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) graduates, even as the district saw a dramatic increase in the number of test takers.

The MCPS Class of 2015 earned an average composite score of 23.9 (out of 36) on the ACT, an increase over the Class of 2014 (23.7) and higher than the performance of graduates in the state of Maryland (22.7) and the nation (21.0).

According to data released by ACT on Wednesday (August 26, 2015), 3,545 MCPS graduates took the ACT, an increase of 392 students—or 12.4 percent—over last year. That is the largest one-year increase in ACT test takers in at least five years. In fact, from 2011 to 2014, the number of graduates taking the ACT increased by just 131 students.

“I am very pleased that our graduates continue to perform well on the ACT even as we see a significant increase in participation,” said Interim Superintendent Larry A. Bowers. “While many of our students are doing well on the ACT and other national assessments, we know there is room for improvement and we will continue our work to ensure all students are prepared for success today and in the future.”

The ACT exam includes four sections—English, mathematics, reading and science—and is scored on a scale from 0 to 36. The MCPS Class of 2015 scored a 24.3 on the reading portion (an increase of 0.5 from 2014) and 23.7 on the science portion (an increase of 0.3). The MCPS scores on the English (23.4) and mathematics (23.8) sections are unchanged from last year. MCPS graduates outscored their peers across Maryland by more than 1 point on each section of the ACT.

According to MCPS data, 34 percent of graduates from the Class of 2015 took the ACT, which is an increase of 4.5 percentage points over the previous year. For the past four years, the percent of graduates taking the ACT has hovered around 30 percent. ACT participation increased among all racial subgroups:

  • 33.9 percent of African American MCPS graduates took the ACT, a one-year increase of 5.6 percentage points;
  • 19.6 percent of Hispanic MCPS graduates took the ACT, a one-year increase of 0.9 percentage points;
  • 31.4 percent of Asian MCPS graduates took the ACT, a one-year increase of 7.5 percentage points; and
  • 45.1 percent of White MCPS graduates took the ACT, a one-year increase of 5.5 percentage points.

Results for the SAT college placement exam are expected to be released in September.

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