James Rada, Jr.
(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
The math scores are up slightly over the
past five years while the reading scores are
“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
“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
Frederick County 2007 SAT scores
Combined % of Seniors
Gov. Thomas Johnson 1536
Source: Frederick County Public Schools