As the focus shifts to the implementation of a new testing program aligned with the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards (better known as the Common Core State Standards), the Maryland State Department of Education today released results of the final year of Maryland School Assessment testing for students in grades 3 through 8.
The results showed that at the elementary level, 90.2 percent of students countywide scored proficient or advanced on the assessments in reading, and 87 percent met that mark in math. Among student groups, 94 percent of white students passed the reading assessments while 91.8 percent of students designated as being of two or more races, 84.4 percent of Hispanic students, and 80.9 percent of African-American students did so. In math, 92.4 percent of white students passed, compared to 88.4 percent of students designated as being of two or more races, 78.7 percent of Hispanic students and 74.3 percent of African-American students.
At the middle school level, 82 percent of students passed the reading assessments, and 64.8 percent did so in math. Among student groups, 87.5 percent of white students passed the reading assessments while 82.1 percent of students designated as being of two or more races, 75.1 percent of Hispanic students, and 68.5 percent of African-American students did so. In math, 74.3 percent of white students passed, compared to 64.6 percent of students designated as being of two or more races, 51.3 percent of Hispanic students and 41.4 percent of African-American students.
Statistical comparisons to previous years are invalid because of the ongoing misalignment between MSA tests and new curriculum geared to the standards, and the fact that more than 3,800 randomly chosen county students took the piloted Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment in the 2013-2014 school year. All students in grades 3 through 8 will take PARCC assessments in the 2014-2015 school year.
“Our school system, like those around the state, administered the MSA assessments this year knowing that the lack of alignment with our classroom instruction and the fact that nearly 11 percent of our students in these grades took the PARCC field test would skew the data,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “Still, there remains in these results data that is useful to administrators, principals, and teachers as we continue to move forward.”
Dr. Arlotto cited middle school math as a particular area of concern.
“Some of our biggest curricular changes have occurred in middle school math, and while there is no question that the misalignment of instruction and testing contributed greatly to these low scores, we must continue to find ways to address the needs of these students in our math coursework,” Dr. Arlotto said. “I am concerned greatly about the difference in pass rates from elementary to middle school, and that drop is something at which we are looking very closely.
Countywide results can be found at the link below. Complete results for individual county schools can be found here.