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New SAT Sets Baseline; ACT Scores Rise in Maryland

Another Increase in AP Participation, Success Also Registered

BALTIMORE – Maryland student results on the SAT for the class of 2017 set a new baseline in both reading/English language arts and mathematics as the national exam underwent its second major revision in 11 years.

For that same class, ACT exam scores for Maryland students hit a new high, following a long trend of annual improvement on the exam.

“Ensuring that every young Marylander has access to a world-class education is a top priority,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “A strong foundation for a postsecondary education can lead to success, both in the classroom, as well as in future careers, and our administration is proud to see our students thriving.”

Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, said the assessments provide students with a national measure of their preparation and progress.

“These tests serve as important stepping stones to postsecondary education for many of our students,” Dr. Salmon said. “Our goal is better prepared graduates with choices–more education or a fulfilling career right after high school–and we need all of our graduates performing at a high level.”

The College Board today released data for the new SAT, which underwent considerable changes since 2016. The organization dropped a required separate writing test, which it added about a decade ago, and changed other facets of the national exam.

The mean score in English Language Arts for Maryland public school students is 528, compared to the national mean of 527. The Mathematics mean for Maryland students is 518, compared to a national mean of 517. Maryland’s mean composite score was 1046, compared to the national mean of 1044. The SAT is scored on a 200 to 800 point scale.

Maryland students outpace the national average on the ACT by a wider margin than they do on the SAT, although SAT remains the dominant exam in the State. The average ACT composite score in Maryland public schools increased from 22.8 in 2015-16 to 23.4 in 2016-17, while the national composite score improved from 20.8 to 21.0, in data released earlier this month.

The College Board today also released national Advanced Placement (AP) data for tests taken in 2017. Of the 110,876 AP tests taken, nearly 70,000 received a score of 3, 4 or 5, the score at which many colleges give credit. That was an increase of 3.8 percent over 2016.

SAT Results

College Board reported that 36,459 Maryland public school seniors took the new SAT in 2017. That represents 66 percent of the graduating class. Nationally, 1.4 million seniors participated in the SAT, 46 percent of the graduating class.

Scores vary between student groups both in Maryland and across the nation. Asian students in Maryland had a mean composite score of 1164; African American students, 937; Hispanic students, 1013; White students, 1134; and students of Two or More Races, 1101.

Since the SAT was redesigned from 2016 to 2017, College Board is not comparing this year’s results to last year’s.

SAT results are scheduled to be released today at

ACT Results

The ACT has seen dramatic gains in participation in Maryland in recent years. A total of 12,664 Maryland public school students took the ACT this year, compared to 10,216 in 2013.

Maryland public school students scored above the national averages in all ACT categories: English (22.8 to 20.3 nationally); Mathematics, (23.1 to 20.7); Reading (23.9 to 21.4), and Science (23.1 to 21.0).

Differences in achievement between student groups are also present in the ACT, in Maryland as well as nationally — although Maryland student scores have risen across the board. The average composite score for Asian students in Maryland is 26.9; African American students, 18.8; Hispanic students, 21.7; White students, 25.4, and students of Two or More Races, 23.4.

ACT results are available on its website,

Advanced Placement

The College Board in early 2018 will release its annual look at AP by graduating cohort, but today released some raw numbers for Maryland test takers.

Nearly 60,000 Maryland students (58,996) took at least one AP test last year across all grades, an increase of 2.9 percent. The number of exams taken–110,876–was an increase of 2.3 percent over 2016.

The number of students scoring a 3, 4 or 5 increased across all student groups between 2016 and 2017. The number of Asian students scoring at that range jumped from 5,702 to 6,176; African American students from 3,644 to 3,781; Hispanic students from 3,536 to 3,857; White students from 20,663 to 20,837; and students of Two or More Races from 1,870 to 2,035.