The average score increased 15 points for Carroll students who took the Scholastic Assessment Test this year, and the numbers went up at four of the county's five high schools.
But at all schools in Carroll, a smaller percentage of students took the test, which could skew the figures upward, said Judith Backes, supervisor of testing.
"When you have a decrease in test-takers, you often have a rise in scores," Backes said. "Students who are not as well prepared often don't take the test."
Still, she said the 15-point rise is significant.
On the first day of school yesterday, Carroll officials reported the latest results, for students who took the test during the 1995-1996 school year.
Although changes in the test scale complicate the reporting of scores, Carroll's average score is estimated to be the equivalent of 935, compared with a state average of 909 and national average of 913. Carroll's average last year was 920 for the combined scores of verbal and math portions of the test.
"That has to be a real indication that we are on the right track," said Gary Dunkleberger, assistant superintendent for instruction.
The average scores are for comparison to past years. The official scores this year look higher because of changes in the scale made by the College Board, the private agency that administers the test nationwide. The agency recalibrated the scale to make it more valid and representative of today's college-bound population.
The scale had not changed since 1941, when it reflected the JTC performance of about 10,000 students from predominantly private high schools, Backes said.
Because this is the first year of reporting the recalibrated scores, Backes interpreted the new figures, using a table provided by the College Board, to come up with their equivalents under the old scale, so they could be compared more accurately to previous years.
For example, the state average is actually 1,011 this year, but would be 909 under the old scale. The national average is 1,013, or 913 under the old scale.
For each school, the official average scores, with the interpreted ones for comparison in parentheses, are:
Francis Scott Key High School -- 981 under the new scale (interpreted as the equivalent of 881, compared with 899 last year), with 41 percent of 1996 graduates taking the test.
Liberty High School -- 1,030 (equivalent of 928, compared with 924 last year), with 67 percent of graduates taking the test.
North Carroll High School -- 1,030 (equivalent of 928, compared with 900 last year), with 54 percent of graduates taking the test.
South Carroll High School -- 1,048 (equivalent of 950, compared with 909 last year), with 61 percent taking the test.
Westminster High School -- 1,050 (equivalent of 950, compared with 943 last year), with 56 percent taking the test.
Pub Date: 8/27/96