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SAT scores for Maryland’s graduating seniors rose this year according to data released by the College Board.
SAT scores for Maryland’s graduating seniors rose this year according to data released by the College Board. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

The average SAT score for Maryland’s graduating seniors rose dramatically this year, with an increase shown in every demographic group, according to data released Thursday by the College Board.

The mean composite score rose 20 points for public school students graduating in 2018 — from 1046 last year to 1066.

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That’s one of the largest jumps in recent years in Maryland, and far above the national average of 1049.

A perfect score is a 1600, or 800 on each of the two sections: math and reading/writing.

Here are some takeaways from the new data:

Maryland's State School Superintendent has decided to ditch the test it has given for the past four years.

» The mean score on the math section was 528 for 2018 Maryland seniors, compared to 518 for the class of 2017. The mean score on the reading/writing was 538, compared to 528 for the 2017 class.

» A larger number of Maryland’s 2018 graduating seniors took the SAT — some 4,000 more — than last year’s graduates. A total of 76 percent of the 2018 graduating class had taken the college entrance exam. Baltimore City saw a slight increase in its participation rate.

» Why was there was such an increase in Maryland scores? That hasn’t been explained yet by state officials or school systems. This year’s graduates took a revised SAT test that significantly changed two years ago. If Maryland students found the test easier, it is likely those same increases would have been reflected in national scores. However, nationwide the composite score rose only 3 points. Scores usually fall when larger numbers of students take the test, but in this case they rose.

Baltimore City students have some of the lowest test scores in the nation compared to other big cities in reading and math.

» The mean composite score for Asian students increased from 1164 to 1221; for African American students, up from 937 to 947; for Hispanic students from 1013 to 1024, and for white students from 1134 to 1142, state officials said.

» The College Board said that the number of districts offering the SAT to every student in school on a specific day increased dramatically. In the 2016-17 school year, five school districts offered the test on one school day. Last year, nine districts did. This school year half of Maryland’s 24 districts are offering the SAT.

» Maryland school districts have not yet released their individual data.

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