skip to main content


HCPSS Students Outpace State Peers on SAT and ACT

December 9th, 2019

Students in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) continue to outperform their peers across the state and nation in performance on the SAT and ACT, two widely accepted measures of college readiness.

More than 80% of HCPSS 2019 graduates participated in the SAT and/or ACT. Of these, 76% met the benchmarks for postsecondary success identified by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), which are SAT scores of at least 530 in mathematics and 480 in evidence-based reading and writing (ERW), and ACT scores at or above 21.

The mean composite score on the SAT was 1202 for the HCPSS Class of 2019. While showing a slight decline from the 2018 composite score of 1206, HCPSS results compared favorably to scores for Maryland schools at 1058, and 1059 for schools nationally. Among SAT subtests, the HCPSS average score was 606 for math and 596 for ERW.

About one fourth of HCPSS Class of 2019 graduates took the ACT, with a mean composite score of 25.6, outpacing scores for the state and nation of 22.3 and 20.7, respectively. The HCPSS mean subtest scores were 25.8 in reading, 25.4 in math, 25.5 in English, and 25.2 in science.

Gaps remain among HCPSS student groups in the levels of participation and performance in the SAT and ACT. HCPSS remains committed to identifying and addressing the factors contributing to these gaps, and is integrating evidence-based strategies into the school improvement process and in daily instruction. Strategies include ensuring access to and implementing rigorous coursework for all students, providing professional development to support teachers in connecting reading materials to content-specific topics and increasing student writing performance, and offering financial support for test fees.

A comprehensive report on Class of 2019 SAT and ACT participation and performance was presented at the December 5, 2019 Board of Education meeting.