SAT scores increase across MCPS while Blair increases test takers
The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) class of 2012 set a record high average score on the SAT last year. According to a report released by College Board on Sept. 24, MCPS graduates had an average score of 1651 out of a total of 2400 points last year, up 14 points from the year before. The score is also 184 points higher than that of Maryland public school graduates and 153 points higher than the national average score of the United States.
Out of the 25 MCPS high schools, Blair was one of the six that did not improve from the year before. However, according to a report by MCPS, Blazers averaged a score of 1725 last year, up 88 points from the MCPS average. Also, while 71 percent of the MCPS class of 2012 took the SAT, 79.7 percent of Blazers took the test.
Although Blair's scores did not improve, the number of Blazers taking the test went up. Blair resource counselor Marcia Johnson explained that Blair's lack of improvement likely stems from the fact that there has been an increase in the number of Blazers taking the SAT, many of whom are new to the style of the test.
Though scores for Blazers overall do not show improvement, English teacher Christine Denny, who is one of Blair's afterschool SAT prep teachers, believed that it is important to realize that many individual students have been making significant progress. "I also like to consider the individual gains students have made: a student who improved his score by 100 points, a student who managed to feel confident about the test prior to taking it or a student who improved one specific writing strategy," she said.
Denny, along with the other teachers in the English department, incorporates SAT strategies into her lesson plans. She familiarizes her sophomore students with the test so that they are less stressed when junior year arrives. In her senior classes, she incorporates vocabulary and question styles that come up in the writing and critical reading portions of the SAT. Denny also explained how the entire Blair English department is gearing students towards being ready for the SAT. "In my senior classes, students complete a daily SAT warm-up, and in my sophomore classes, we focus on specific content that is covered in the SATs," she said.
Johnson explained that Blair is working on making sure that students have completed the Algebra I and Geometry math courses before taking the SAT, since concepts learned from both classes come up on the math portion of the test.
Last year, Vice Principal Dirk Cauley also made sure that Blazers had calculators before taking the SAT to maximize performance. In addition, Cauley holds free SAT prep classes eight weeks before each SAT exam.
Denny commends these free workshops. "It allows them to become familiar with the test questions without feeling pressured to spend a lot of money or take a class with an instructor that they don't know," she said.
Blair also offers a variety of test prep options for students. Triumph online SAT/ACT test prep is offered to students 24 hours a day through their website. Contact the Career Center for more information.
Aanchal Johri. Aanchal Johri ('14) served as co-Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online with Jack Estrin from 2013-2014. In January 2014, Johri represented Silver Chips Online at the White House as the only high school journalist to <a href="http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/12356">cover</a> the White House State of Science, Technology, Engineering and ... More »