The following were among actions taken at the Oct. 12 meeting of the Prince George's County Board of Education. For more information, call 952-6000.

SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE TEST SCORES -- Louise F. Waynant, director of instruction, suggested that school officials encourage students to take higher level math and English courses after test results showed county students' SAT scores declined last year.

Waynant said county students' scores fell while those of students who took the college entrance exam throughout the state and nation rose.

Elwood L. Loh, director of evaluation and research, told the board that county students' average scores on the SAT dropped by five points on the verbal section, from 399 in 1985-1986 to 394 in 1986-1987, while average scores on the math section dropped by two points, from 434 in 1985-1986 to 432 in 1986-1987.

This year, the state average math score was 477 and the average verbal score 437, slightly above the national math average of 476 and the verbal average of 430.

Waynant attributed the decline in county students' scores to an increase in the number of students taking the test and a lack of preparation by students and their teachers.

Loh said the test was taken by 3,525 students, or just under 50 percent of the 7,016 students who graduated from county schools in 1987, compared to 3,388 students, or 45 percent, who took the test in 1986.

"I'm not using this as an excuse for the scores going down, but when you have more students taking the test the lower the scores tend to go," Waynant said.

Waynant recommended that teachers and administrators encourage students to take more challenging courses such as geometry, trigonometry and literature to better prepare them for the SAT. Students often avoid taking difficult courses and realize too late that those courses can help them better their SAT scores and improve their chances of getting into college, she said.

"We have not done the job we need to do," she said.

CHRISTA MAULIFFE AWARD -- The board honored Carolyn Coakley, a 44-year-old speech teacher at High Point High School, who is one of two Maryland teachers to receive the first federal Christa McAuliffe Fellowship awards.

Coakley, a teacher for 22 years, received a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education for her proposal to compile a teacher workbook to help middle and high school teachers develop student listening skills.

Barry D. Gelsinger, a Westminster High School English teacher in Carroll County, received an $11,000 grant.

Coakley and Gelsinger were among 160 teachers in the nation to share $2 million in grants offered by the U.S. Department of Education in honor of the Concord, New Hampshire teacher who died with six astronauts aboard the space shuttle Challenger on Jan. 28, 1986.

The state distributes the grants based on the amount requested by the winners to implement their proposals.