Montgomery, D.C. students improve SAT scores, data show

By Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 13, 2010; 11:00 AM

SAT scores of college-bound high school seniors were flat nationwide this year, even as some students in the Washington region sharply improved their performance, according to data released Monday by the College Board and local school officials.

Montgomery County public school students posted record high scores of 1653, and the school system took steps to narrow the persistent achievement gap between white and Asian American students and their black and Hispanic peers. D.C. students' composite scores on the exam were up almost 2 percent, to 1404 out of a maximum of 2400.

Nationwide, composite scores were 1509, the same as last year. The number of high school seniors who took the test sometime during their high school career hit a record high, at 1.5 million students. The group of test-takers was also the most diverse; 41.5 percent were minorities.

Scores nationwide have largely held flat for many years. Reading scores are four points lower than they were in 2000 and just one point higher than they were in 1990. Math scores are two points higher than they were in 2000 and 15 points higher than in 1990.

The College Board, the New York organization that administers the SAT, said data showed that students who took more challenging courses, such as Advanced Placement classes -- which also are administered by the College Board -- did better on the SAT.

"This report confirms that there are no tricks and there are no shortcuts to college readiness," said College Board President Gaston Caperton in a statement. "Students who take more rigorous courses in high school are more prepared to succeed in college and beyond."

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