ACT Participation Strong in MCPS; High Scores Hold Steady

August 19, 2011

Students in the Montgomery County Public Schools' (MCPS) Class of 2011 consistently outperformed their peers in Maryland and the nation on all sections of the ACT college admissions exam, according to ACT’s annual report released on August 17.

The average composite score for MCPS graduates was 23.2 in 2011, compared to 22.1 for Maryland and 21.1 for the nation.

The Class of 2011 also demonstrated strong participation in the ACT, with more than 3,000 students taking the exam. ACT participation has risen steadily over the past five years in MCPS, from 1,735 students in 2007 to 3,022 in 2011. Overall participation in the ACT dipped slightly from an all-time high of 3,117 test takers in 2010, but rose for African-American and Hispanic students for the fifth straight year. The small decline in participation is attributed in part to a smaller enrollment in the 2011 senior class.

“The participation and performance of our students on the ACT remains very strong,” said Board of Education President Christopher S. Barclay. “The 2011 results reaffirm that the focus MCPS has placed on raising expectations for all students and preparing them for college and careers is the right one.”

MCPS graduates outscored graduates in Maryland and the nation in each of the four tested subjects on the ACT: English, mathematics, reading and science.

“Our students continue to perform at a high level on the ACT and are demonstrating that they are well prepared for college and the workplace,” said Superintendent Joshua P. Starr. “The ACT results also tell us that we’ve got more work to do when it comes to preparing all students for this exam and other measures of college readiness.”

ACT participation among African-American students in MCPS has increased dramatically in the last five years, with 232 students taking the exam in 2007 and 620 doing so in 2011. That trend is mirrored by Hispanic students. In 2007, 93 Hispanic students took the ACT, compared to 395 in 2011. As participation has tripled for both subgroups, scores have held steady.

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement test designed to measure the skills and knowledge taught in high school that are deemed essential for success in first-year college coursework. Though the majority of MCPS students take the SAT, the number opting to take the ACT has risen in recent years as more colleges and universities have begun to accept results from both exams as part of their admissions processes.

ACT Press Release



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