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MSA test scores: Reading goes down, math goes up

From Staff Reports Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Allegany County middle school students scored slightly lower in reading on this year’s Maryland School Assessments, but math scores for the same students were up, according to statistics released this week by the Maryland State Department of Education.

Elementary schools here met all the targets recently established as part of Maryland’s new “School Progress” plan — which is less rigid than the former “Adequate Yearly Progress” of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Almost without exception, Allegany County elementary school students increased scores in reading and math over last year, the report shows. And middle school students have shown “steady improvement” on both fronts over the past several years, school officials said.

“I am very proud of the fact that our students’ performance has continued to increase since 2009,” said Superintendent David Cox. “This is due in large part to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, principals, and central office staff.”

In Garrett County, school officials report that a “significant number” of elementary and middle school students achieved scores at the proficient and advanced levels in reading and math.

Students in grades four, six and eight, for example, improved reading scores, and students in grades six and eight improved math scores, compared to 2011, statistics show.

But reading scores for students in grades three and five dipped slightly compared to last year, and math scores for students in grades three, four, five, and seven dropped by 2 to 3 percentage points.

Overall, 90.6 percent of elementary school students in Garrett County scored proficient/advanced in reading, while 87.7 percent of middle school students achieved that level, according to a press release from the Garrett County Board of Education.

“We are proud of our students, teachers and administrative staff for the work they do every day to ensure that our students perform well in all aspects of their schooling, including this state assessment,” said Superintendent Janet Wilson.

“We look forward to learning more about the new assessments as we are transitioning to the new Maryland State Common Core Framework.”

Under the state’s new “School Progress” plan, each school is measured against its own targets and must work to strengthen achievement across all subgroups. This year’s data starts a new baseline for school test results over the next six years. By 2017, schools and systems will endeavor to cut in half the percentage of students not scoring at proficient levels on the assessments.

In Allegany County, 88.9 percent of students met the targets for achievement under the new “School Progress” plan.

“I am pleased that Maryland has been granted a waiver from the NCLB Adequate Yearly Progress requirements that were unrealistic,” Cox said. “Our commitment is to continuously improve what we do each and every day for all children.”

For more information about the MSAs, go to the Maryland Report Card site at www.mdreportcard.org.

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