ACT scores and the number of public school students taking the college admission test are on the rise in Montgomery County.

According to data released Wednesday by ACT, students in the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Class of 2015 averaged a composite score of 23.9 out of 36 on the test. That’s a slight increase from the 23.7 average composite ACT score of the Class of 2014 and higher than the 2015 Maryland average score of 22.7 and nationwide average score of 21.

Perhaps more interesting than the score increase is the substantial increase in the number of MCPS high school graduates who took the test, which among local students has traditionally been overshadowed by the SAT despite being the most widely used college admission test nationally.

According to the data, 3,545 members of the MCPS Class of 2015 took the ACT, an increase of 392 students, or 12.4 percent, compared to the school system’s Class of 2014. A total of 34 percent of Class of 2015 graduates took the test.

That’s the largest one-year increase in ACT test takers in at least five years and triple the combined increase in ACT test takers from 2011 to 2014.

“There’s a lot more awareness about the ACT,” MCPS spokesperson Dana Tofig said. “You’re hearing about kids taking both tests [including the SAT] more often and maybe some kids taking the ACT twice instead of the SAT twice.”

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Tofig said the amount of MCPS students taking the ACT has doubled since 2007, the first year all four-year U.S. colleges accepted the test. More Montgomery County public school students still take the SAT.

The test consists of four sections: English, mathematics, reading and science. The nationwide average score of 21 was identical to the average score of 2014 graduates. About 1.92 million Class of 2015 graduates took it.

Results for Class of 2015 students who took the SAT will be released next month.

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