Rockville Schools Show Gains on SAT

Montgomery County Public Schools record new high score; the 'achievement gap' persists.


Four Rockville-area high schools each showed gains in the average combined SAT scores of their graduating class in 2012, according to data released by Montgomery County Public Schools.

The school system posted a record score but still has a persistent gap in achievement between minority students and their white classmates, according to the data.

Students in MCPS’s class of 2012 "set an all-time record on the SAT and significantly outperformed their peers across the state and the nation on the college entrance exam," the school system announced in a news release

"MCPS graduates scored an average combined score of 1,651 on the SAT, which is 184 points higher than state of Maryland public school graduates and 153 points higher than the nation’s graduates," the release said.

A perfect SAT score is 2,400.

The average score for MCPS increased 14 points, the release said. Meanwhile, national and state average scores dropped slightly.

Two Rockville high schools—Col. Zadok Magruder (1,599) and Rockville (1,525) posted average combined scores below the countywide average. Richard Montgomery (1,775) and Thomas S. Wootton (1,837) high schools posted scores significantly above. All four schools showed some gains.


                     SAT Results and Partcipation for Rockville-area Schools

School Avg. Combined Score, Class of 2011 Avg. Combined Score, Class of 2012 Participation Rate (as a %), 2011 Participation Rate (as a %), 2012 Magruder 1,576 1,599 68.5 65.9 Richard Montgomery
1,770 1,775 79.0 79.5 Rockville 1,524 1,525 68.9 75.9 Wootton 1,800 1,837 82.5 83.7



Seventy-one percent of MCPS class of 2012 took the SAT—the same percentage as the class of 2011.

That compares to 70 percent of Maryland public school students who took the SAT and 52 percent of students nationally who took the exam, according to the release.

For the first time, in 2012 more students took the ACT than the SAT, The Washington Post reported. Valerie Strauss examined why on The Post’s “The Answer Sheet” blog.

Meanwhile, the national average reading score on the SAT (496 out of 800) dropped to a 40-year low, The Post reported.

Montgomery County school officials touted the record performance while acknowledging that more work needs to be done.

"This year’s SAT results make it clear that more of our graduates are ready for college-level work and are on a trajectory for success in the future," county School Board President Shirley Brandman said in the release. "We should celebrate these results while, at the same time, intensifying our commitment to prepare all students for success in the 21st century.”

The SAT, administered by the College Board, has three sections: critical reading, mathematics and writing. Each section is worth 800 points, for a total of 2,400.

"We continue to see steady growth in SAT performance from all students and I am very pleased that more of our students are showing they are ready for [post-secondary] opportunities,” Starr said. "While the scores are moving in the right direction, we must recognize that there are persistent gaps that must be addressed if we are going to fulfill our promise of equity and excellence.”

The so-called achievement gap between Hispanic and African-American students and their white peers continues to widen, according to a memo by MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr to the Montgomery County Board of Education.

The difference in the average score between African-American students and white students grew from 363 (1,382 vs. 1,745, respectively) in 2011 to 377 in 2012 (1,389 vs. 1,766).

The difference in average score between Hispanic students and white students grew from 268 in 2011 (1,477 vs. 1,745, respectively) to 283 in 2012 (1,483 vs. 1,766).

“However, these figures should be interpreted with caution because a recent report on ACT/SAT participation and performance produced by [the school system’s Office of Shared Accountability] indicated that an increasing number of minority students are taking the ACT,” Starr wrote.

Two Rockville schools were among the county schools with the highest combined average score. They highest scorers were:


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