Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


Catoctin SAT scores drop 6 points

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(9/6) Recently released results of the Scholastic Aptitude Test shows that Catoctin High students earned a combined score of 1507 between the three tests for reading, math and writing.

The math scores are up slightly over the past five years while the reading scores are down slightly.

“If you look, you’ll see the nationwide trend across the nation has been down,” said Catoctin Principal Jack Newkirk.

This is true and it appears that Catoctin’s scores tend to be higher than the state of Maryland average (1498) but less than the national average (1511). The scores are also below the county average (1548). Catoctin’s average was the third lowest among the nine county high schools.

“Improving our scores is part of our school improvement plan,” Newkirk said.

He added that one of the ways the school is working to raise the scores is by offering an SAT prep course that is geared toward sophomores and juniors.

Students who take the advanced course offered at the school have also been shown to do better on the tests.

“But there’s no one specific button that you can push and fix everything,” Newkirk said. It has to be a systemic improvement.”

The number of seniors taking the test is also significantly below the county’s average. Last year 62 percent of county seniors took the SAT while only 50 percent of Catoctin seniors did.

“Increased participation is often associated with some decrease in mean score, as a result of a more-inclusive group of test takers,” said Deborah Gilmartin, coordinator of testing and accountability for Frederick County Public Schools.

The SAT is a program of the College Board, developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service of New Jersey to measure critical reading, writing and math skills. The scores - in conjunction with students' transcripts and other measures of performance - assist many colleges and universities in selecting students for admission. Because the SAT is an elective test, results do not reflect the performance of all students. However, the trend in SAT scores is a useful criterion for assessing district and school performance.

Frederick County 2007 SAT scores

                                Combined   % of Seniors
                                 Score           taking test

Brunswick                 1540          46%
Catoctin                   1507          50%
Frederick                  1501          56%
Gov. Thomas Johnson 1536          69%
Linganore                 1540          63%
Middletown               1588          72%
Tuscarora                 1491         71%
Urbana                     1625         77%
Walkersville               1547         56%
Frederick County        1548         62%
Maryland                  1498
United States            1511

Source: Frederick County Public Schools

Read other news articles on Thurmont