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MCPS Students Gain on Maryland School Assessment

June 14, 2007
MCPS Students Post Fifth Consecutive Year of Higher Scores on Maryland School Assessment

African American and Hispanic Students Make Significant Increases over Five Years, but Gap Remains

English Language Learners Post Dramatic Five Year Gains

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students in elementary and middle school achieved their fifth consecutive year of higher test scores on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA), according to Maryland State Department of Education data released Thursday. All student subgroups have shown significant increases in scores over the last five years. The growth in performance since 2003 among African American and Hispanic students is as much as two to six times greater than the performance increase for White students, who are already achieving at very high levels.

On average, 86 percent of elementary school students and 77 percent of middle school students scored at the proficient or advanced level for reading and mathematics. This is an increase of 14.7 percentage points for elementary students and 12.6 percentage points for middle school students from 2003. This data means that MCPS is well-positioned to meet the No Child Left Behind Act targets of 100 percent proficiency by 2014.

“I'm very encouraged that our students' scores increased across the board and that the achievement gap narrowed,” said Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools. “Our staff works extremely hard every day to not only make sure our students pass the state tests, but to make sure they are succeeding in rigorous courses that will prepare them for college or the world of work.”

Overall, the test data show that performance gaps continue for racial/ethnic groups. Asian American and White students score close to or above 90 percent in both reading and mathematics. African American and Hispanic students score close to or above 70 percent, but the gap continues to narrow.

The patterns of performance among students who receive Free and Reduced-price Meals System (FARMS), special education, or limited English proficiency (LEP) support services also reflect continued gains overall, most often at a rate greater than that of students not receiving special services. Disparities in performance remain between students who receive such services and those who do not, again with this gap continuing to narrow. Most striking are the performance gains in reading made by elementary LEP students, with increases from 2003 to 2007 of 48, 33, and 23 percentage points in Grades 3, 4, and 5 respectively. At the middle school level, the reading gains for LEP students over the same time period were 20, 13, and 12 percentage points for Grades 6, 7, and 8, respectively.

Elementary School Performance

The overall performance of elementary school students demonstrates sustained improvements in every grade in reading and mathematics since Maryland began administering the test (Table 1). The average percentage of students at the proficient or advanced level in Grades 3, 4, and 5 in reading and mathematics is 86 percent, a gain of 14.7 percentage points since 2003.

Table 1

Percent of Students Scoring at the Proficient or Advanced Level for Reading and Mathematics on the MSAs for Elementary Schools, 2003 through 2007.


Percent Proficient
Gain Since
2003*
Grade Content
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
MCPS Average
71.2
78.1
81.7
83.6
85.9
14.7
3 Reading
66.8
77.6
79.2
80.6
84.9
18.1
Mathematics
75.5
79.4
83.0
84.1
84.0
8.5
4Reading
81.9
86.4
86.7
90.3
8.4
Mathematics
80.0
83.5
86.5
88.6
8.6
5Reading
74.7
76.1
79.8
82.8
83.4
8.7
Mathematics
67.8
73.5
78.5
80.8
84.1
16.3
* MSDE did not administer the MSA in Grade 4 in 2003, so gains are measured from the 2004 MSA.

Middle School Student Performance

The overall performance of middle school students improved to a proficiency rate of 77 percent (Table 2). While the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level is lower among middle school students than for elementary school students, there is improvement for all students across all subgroups.

Table 2

Percent of Students Scoring at the Proficient or Advanced Level for Reading and Mathematics on theMSAs for Middle Schools, 2003 through 2007.


Percent Proficient
Gain Since
2003*
Grade Content
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
MCPSAverage

64.2

68.5

71.1

74.0

76.8

12.6
6Reading

77.2

75.8

79.5

83.8

6.6

Mathematics

62.4

67.7

76.2

78.5

16.1

7Reading

76.0

76.8

76.8

80.2

4.2

Mathematics

63.9

67.8

70.8

73.5

9.6

8Reading

70.9

72.4

73.9

73.8

77.1

6.2

Mathematics

57.5

58.8

64.6

66.6

67.4

9.9

* MSDE did not administer the MSA in Grade 4 in 2003, so gains are measured from the 2004 MSA.


A detailed breakdown for each student subgroup for grades 3 through 8 is attached.

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