Scholastic Aptitude Test scores in Howard County changed little from last year, school officials said. The average scores on the verbal portion of the test dropped to 455 from 458 the year before. Math scores rose to 521 from 517.
This year's combined score rose one point to 976. Last year, Howard County school officials reported a 12-point jump in combined scores for county seniors.
"The fact that we held is not just an aberration," spokeswoman Patti Caplan said. "Our students are holding that score."
Howard County's combined score is 69 points higher than the Maryland average of 907, and 77 points higher than the national average of 899.
Except for a 10-point drop in 1988, Howard County students' scores have risen steadily for the past eleven years, Ms. Caplan said.
School officials attribute the rise in scores to affluent Howard families who take special interest in their children's education.
"Family income, family education, and resources at home and in school help," said Leslie Walker-Bartnick, the county's testing supervisor.