ACT Participation Grows, Scores Remain Strong

August 22, 2012
A record number of Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) graduates from the Class of 2012 took the ACT and consistently outscored their peers in the state of Maryland and across the nation. More than 3,000 students from the Class of 2012 took the ACT, earning an average composite score of 23.2, significantly higher than the state average of 22.1 and the national average of 21.1.

"The ACT results are another indicator that a steadily increasing number of our students are interested in pursuing postsecondary opportunities," said Board of Education President Shirley Brandman. "We must continue to support our students' efforts to be prepared for college-level work."

Thirty percent of MCPS graduates from the Class of 2012 took the ACT. Since 2008, participation on the ACT has increased from 2,355 MCPS graduates to 3,094 in 2012, a jump of 24 percent.

“Even as our ACT participation has increased dramatically over the past several years, our scores have remained high,” said Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr. “If this success is to continue, we must remain focused on providing all students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in college and the workplace.”

The ACT exam includes four sections—English, Mathematics, Reading and Science—and is scored on a scale from 0 to 36. MCPS students outscored their peers across the state and the nation on all four sections of the exam.

ACT participation has been growing steadily in MCPS over the past several years, with the most dramatic increases among African American and Hispanic students. Among 2012 MCPS graduates, 718 African American students took the ACT, up from 364 students just five years ago. Among 2012 graduates, 414 Hispanic students in MCPS took the ACT, nearly triple the 149 students that took the exam in 2008. 

Three high schools saw participation increase among all racial/ethnic groups in the past three years—Clarksburg, Seneca Valley and Watkins Mill high schools.

While use of the ACT has grown, a majority of MCPS high school students take the SAT, with 70 percent of the district’s graduates taking the exam in 2011. SAT results for the class of 2012 will be released in late September.

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