BALTIMORE -- College entrance test scores are up at all but one Maryland four-year public college, and officials say more of the state's best high school graduates are opting to attend schools in Maryland.

Frostburg State was the only four-year public undergraduate college in Maryland where the average Scholastic Aptitude Test score of entering college freshmen this year was down -- a drop of 3 points, according to figures released last week by the State Board for Higher Education.

The tests, given nationwide to college-bound students to judge verbal and mathematical skills, have a maximum combined score of 1600.

Maryland's average combined score for college freshmen is 942 this year, 10 points higher than last year, an increase over the last seven years of 64 points.

The statistics show the state's public colleges are attracting better in-state students as well as out-of-state students, said Maryland's commissioner of higher education, Sheldon H. Knorr.

"This year we expect we will have 60 percent of students with A averages staying in the state. Ten years ago, 60 percent of the A students left," Knorr said.

Good students are remaining in the state, Knorr said, because of aggressive recruiting efforts by Maryland colleges and a better reputation the schools are gaining among high school students in Maryland and out of state.

The better test scores also can be attributed to stricter academic requirements for high school graduates before they can be accepted into a four-year college, said Knorr.

The scores range from St. Mary's College, in Southern Maryland, which has an average combined score of 1,051 (up 14 points from last year), to Bowie State College in Prince George's County, which has the lowest average score of 658 (up 17 points from last year).