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2000 Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Results for Montgomery County Public Schools
HIGH SCHOOL PRODUCTIVITY IN SAT SCORES
School average SAT scores represent the effects of many influences such as the academic preparation levels of the students upon arriving in ninth grade, the academic quality of the high school program, the extent of students' motivation and engagement in the academic curriculum, and the types of students who elect to take the SAT. This mix of influences means that the actual SAT averages of schools cannot be used as direct indicators of the quality of the high school's academic program. In order to obtain a more direct indicator of the high school's academic effectiveness, it is necessary to separate the influences on SAT scores of the factors that operated during the high school years from the influences on SAT scores of the factors that operated during the pre-high school years. In that manner we can identify the "SAT productivity" of the high school itself apart from the effectiveness of the K-8 program. (See the June 1997 memo on Systemic Planning for SAT Preparation for detailed explanations.)
Previous analyses have shown that the quality of the academic program that students pursue throughout high school has about as much influence on SAT scores as does the quality of students' academic preparation from elementary and middle school (as indicated by test scores at the end of eighth grade.) It is possible to compare high schools on the SAT scores of their seniors who all shared the same test scores upon leaving eighth grade four years earlier. Such comparisons reveal more about the SAT-productivity of the high school program itself because those comparisons are not influenced by the eighth grade scores. For example, the question becomes: "What are the high school average SAT scores, from one high school to the next, of seniors who all had the same reading and math scores from eighth grade?"
Figure 4 (below) provides answers to the questions raised above by showing, for each high school, (1) the actual SAT average of all seniors in their sample, and (2) the SAT score estimated for the "MCPS average student" in their sample. In this analysis the "average student" refers to those who had eighth grade CRT scores of 700 in reading and 685 in math, who remained in MCPS through their senior year, and who took the SAT. That group of "stayers" had SAT averages somewhat higher than those described above in this report for all seniors with SAT scores. The "SAT actual" score in Figure 4, shown in the lighter-shaded bar, reflects the combined influences of the students' backgrounds, K-8 preparation levels, and high school academic effects. These scores are shown, arranged from lowest-scoring school to highest-scoring school, as deviations from 1100 because that was the average SAT score in this analysis. The "SAT for Average Student" score, shown in the darker-shaded bar, represents the effects on SAT scores during the high school years alone because it estimates the SAT score among students who all shared the same eighth grade academic scores.
* NOTE: The lighter bar represents the three-year average from 1987 to 1989; the darker bar represents the three-year average from 1997 to 1999. (Senior transcript data have not yet been compiled for the Class of 2000.) Data indicate the highest number of honors courses and highest level of math course attained in high school.
Figure 4 provides the following findings about the SAT productivity of high schools.