MCPS Class of 2010 Scores at Record Levels on the SAT

September 13, 2010
Due to 2011 changes in the way the College Board is calculating SAT performance and participation, the results for the class of 2010 had to be recalculated. The College Board now calculates SAT scores through the June administration of the test.  In this press release, MCPS reports that its graduates had an average score of 1653. With the recalculation according to the College Board’s changed rules, the 2010 score is now 1647.

  Students in the Montgomery County Public Schools Class of 2010 produced the district’s highest-ever composite score on the SAT and dramatically outperformed their state and national peers, according to data released today by the College Board.
   With a mean score of 1653, MCPS students outpaced their Maryland peers by 151 points and their national peers by 144 points on the three-part exam. MCPS’ mean SAT combined score increased by 38 points over last year, helping drive a five-point rise in Maryland’s 2010 composite SAT score, to 1502. In fact, if Maryland’s 2010 score was calculated without including MCPS, the state’s composite score would drop to 1474.
   African-American and Hispanic test-takers posted the strongest gains in MCPS, improving on last year’s average composite scores by 49 and 54 points, respectively. Those increases outpaced the growth in scores for Asian students (up 21 points) and White students (up 15 points), and further narrowed the district’s racial and ethnic gap in SAT performance.
   “These outstanding SAT results are further proof that the reforms we put in place 11 years ago are producing excellent results for our students,” said Board of Education President Patricia B. O’Neill. “More of our students than ever before are well-prepared for college and the workplace.”
   The Class of 2010 also set new records for the number of SAT test takers who earned combined scores of at least 1500. While one out of every two test takers nationally scored 1500 or higher, more than two-thirds of test takers in the MCPS Class of 2010 did so.  Even more notably, more than 50 percent earned scores of 1650 or higher—a key indicator that students are prepared for college-level work and are unlikely to require remedial courses (see the full report on MCPS' SAT performance). A score of 1650 on the SAT is the final key in MCPS’ Seven Keys to College Readiness, a clearly-charted pathway on which students can mark their progress as they prepare for college entry.
   Strong gains in African-American and Hispanic SAT performance are directly linked to MCPS’ strategy of providing access to rigorous, college-preparatory courses to all students.  Last year, the percentage of African-American students in MCPS who took and passed Advanced Placement exams with a score of 3 or higher was nearly double that of the nation.
   Superintendent Jerry D. Weast credits the record-breaking SAT results to talented teachers, committed staff, and motivated students as well as to the reform plan implemented 11 years ago.
   “We believe in high standards, high expectations and high performance,” Weast said. “We’ve followed a clear path that works and produces exceptional results for our students at every level.  These SAT scores are extraordinary and are something that our entire community should take pride in.”
   The SAT improvements have taken place even as the student population of MCPS has changed dramatically. Over the past 11 years, the number of MCPS students living in poverty has increased about 50 percent and the number of English language learners has more than doubled. At the same time, overall school enrollment has grown by 15,000 students and the student population has become much more diverse, with increases in the number of African American, Hispanic and Asian students.
   Deputy Superintendent Frieda K. Lacey said the staff at MCPS would not allow demographic shifts in poverty, language proficiency and race to be an excuse for poor academic performance.
   “These SAT scores are an affirmation of our strong belief that setting high expectations for all students makes a difference if you give them the instruction and support they need to be successful,” Dr. Lacey said. “We expect all of our students to challenge themselves with rigorous classes regardless of their race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. They are showing us they can meet, and well exceed, those high expectations.”
   More than 71 percent of MCPS students in the Class of 2010 took the SAT, exceeding state and national participation levels. That rate is down slightly from 2009 when 78 percent of graduates took the SAT. That decline in SAT test-taking can be attributed, in large part, to the rising number of MCPS students who are taking the ACT, the other major college entrance exam. ACT participation among MCPS students has more than doubled over the last five years.
   The Class of 2010 also set a new record for MCPS with its mean SAT combined score of 1106 on the verbal and mathematics subtests—the highest of any class in MCPS history, including those that took the old SAT before the exam was revamped five years ago to add a writing test.
   Students from the district’s 25 high schools—from Takoma Park to Poolesville, Bethesda to Silver Spring—helped drive SAT scores higher in 2010.  Graduates at 19 high schools earned average composite scores of 1500 or higher; graduates at eight high schools earned average composite scores of 1650 or higher; and graduates at four high schools earned average composite scores of 1800 or higher. A perfect score on the SAT is 2400.
   The 2010 SAT results build on an already strong record of achievements by MCPS students, including:
   - Students in the class of 2010 took the ACT exam in record numbers and earned significantly higher scores than their state and national peers in all tested subjects.
   - In 2009, MCPS students took, and passed, Advanced Placement exams in record numbers. For example, from 1999-2009, the number of AP exams taken by MCPS students has tripled and last year, 72.3 percent of those exams received a college ready score of 3 or higher.
   - MCPS has the highest graduation rate (83.1 percent) among the nation’s largest school districts, according to Education Week.
   - The class of 2010 earned more than $234 million in college scholarships, the most ever and an increase of nearly $50 million from 2009.
   - The district is one of five finalists for the $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, which recognizes large school districts that have raised student performance and narrowed the achievement gap. The winner will be announced on October 19. 

Report on SAT Performance by MCPS Class of 2010

MCPS EXTRA: View a news report on MCPS' 2010 SAT performance

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