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Baltimore County Students Show Mixed Results on State Tests

County middle schools report lower passage percentages than elementary schools on the Maryland State Assessments.

Results from the 2012 Maryland State Assessment reveal a mixed bag of results from Baltimore County Public Schools students.

While elementary schools showed strong gains, middle schools reported results below the state average.

One Towson elementary school even received 100 percent passage in all subgroups.

"We have areas of improvement but we feel good about the data," said Elizabeth Grace Chesney, executive director of research, accountability, assessment and data warehouse for Baltimore County Public Schools.

Statewide, 88.2 percent of elementary school students performed at proficient or advanced levels in reading and 87.7 percent did so in math, according to Baltimore County Schools news release. By comparison, 90.7 percent of Baltimore County elementary students passed in reading and 90.8 percent passed in math, which is notably above the state average. 

At the middle school level, however, results were not as strong.

According to a Maryland Department of Education news release, 82.1 percent of middle school students passed in reading and 76.2 percent passed in math at the state level. Baltimore County Schools reported below average passage numbers with 81.7 percent in reading and 74 percent in math. Since 2011, reading scores went down 1.2 percent but math scores rose by 1.5 percent.

"We have made it a priority to focus on middle school academic performance in the coming year, and the MSA results underscore the importance of this task," Superientendent S. Dallas Dance said in the county schools news release. "The data in this year’s MSA report gives us a great opportunity to hone in on the areas we need to improve."

The Maryland State Assessment is a mandatory test that measures reading and math abilities in students grades three through eight. A comparison of how Baltimore County students performed from 2011 to 2012 is below:

Grade Subject Advanced & Proficient 2012 Percentage Advanced & Proficent 2011 Percentage Percent Difference 3 Reading 88.3 87.9 0.4 3 Math 91.4 89.0 2.4 4 Reading 92.6 91.0 1.7 4 Math 92.8 93.0 -0.2 5 Reading 91.4 92.1 -0.7 5 Math 88.1 84.4 3.7 6 Reading 84.0 82.3 1.7 6 Math 80.0 79.5 0.5 7 Reading 79.2 83.0 -3.8 7 Math 74.5 72.7 1.8 8 Reading 82.1 83.6 -1.5 8 Math 67.6 65.3 2.3

New this year, Maryland is no longer using the Adequate Yearly Progress measurement, which, under the "No Child Left Behind" Act, targeted schools that didn't show marked improvement on the assessment for restructing. Now, every school is expected to reduce the percent of students that didn't pass in half by 2017. These new targets are called Annual Measurable Objectives.

"This gives each school its own number for improvement," said Bill Reinhard, a state department of education media spokesman.

Rodgers Forge Elementary School was the only school in the county to receive 100 percent passage in all subgroups, according to the county schools news release. As such, the school will not be affected by Annual Measurable Objectives.

JD1 July 11, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Who cares - schools are tirelessly teaching to this test and have thrown student engagement and meaningful learning out the window. As an insider I can attest that the assessments have gotten easier each year. At the same time, educators have become increasingly familiar with the type and scope of the questions. Do you really think that the schools have gotten that much better? Instruction in most schools is lackluster and the system couldn't care less. Now they are gearing up to chase the common core. At some point we need to stop chasing the test and start teaching kids. Ask any of the local colleges what NCLB, AYP and AMO's have done to education - the crop of graduates has gotten worse each year. Remedial reading and math courses are at an all time high, yet somehow, we have a great education system in MD??? Our NAEP scores (the one you cant cheat on) are flat as a pancake and racial gaps are as huge as ever. If it werent for bridge projects, half of our kids wouldn't graduate. We need to speak up as a community and demand more than test scores on a meaningless test from our local schools.
Nikki Marlatt-Young July 11, 2012 at 05:39 AM
I couldn't agree with you more! When my step-daughter was in High School every back to school night we were told the same thing "test prep" all they would teach is those test questions!
Tim July 11, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Completely agree.

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