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County's schools improved

June 08, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

karenh@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - While some schools saw declines, every grade level in Washington County Public Schools improved overall in this year's Maryland School Assessment.

According to information released Tuesday by the Maryland State Department of Education, the schools' math and reading scores on the elementary and middle school tests improved over last year.

High school results will not be released until later this summer, said Carol Mowen, the school system's public information officer.

"We know that these improvements are really carried out by teachers, done by the teachers in the classroom every day," Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan told faculty at E. Russell Hicks Middle School during a results-recognition ceremony Tuesday.

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Among the schools that noticed the greatest gains were Salem Avenue Elementary, which posted a 22.2 percent improvement in its third-grade reading scores, and Potomac Heights Elementary, where the rate of students scoring proficient or above on the fourth-grade math test jumped from 76.5 percent to 91.1 percent.

Students can earn three levels of scores: basic, proficient or advanced.

According to the state department of education, all Greenbrier Elementary School students scored proficient or above on the fifth-grade reading test.

Not all schools' scores increased, however.

At Bester Elementary School, which last year failed to make adequate yearly progress, fourth-grade reading test scores fell - 41.4 percent of students achieved only a basic level. The school's marks on the third-, and fifth-grade reading tests and third-, fourth- and fifth-grade math tests improved.

Eastern Elementary School, where teachers were forced to reapply for their jobs more than a year ago, improved in every category but third-grade reading.

Adequate yearly progress is a standard of gain schools must make across grade levels and within subgroups of students. According to Mowen, the system anticipates learning whether its elementary and middle schools made AYP next week.

According to a statement released by Washington County Public Schools, reading and math scores on the Maryland School Assessment have improved in all 24 school systems in the state.

No Child Left Behind


Some of the Washington County schools' biggest gains appeared to be the scores of students in subgroups recognized by the federal government's No Child Left Behind standards.

Eighty percent of Lincolnshire Elementary School's black fifth-graders scored proficient or advanced on their reading tests, compared with just 25 percent last year.

Schools that also saw improvement in some subgroups included Bester, where 81.8 percent of the third-graders with disabilities who took the mathematics test scored proficient or advanced. Last year, just 8.3 percent of students in that group scored proficient or advanced.

Deputy Superintendent Patricia Abernethy noted the federal standards require all students to score proficient or advanced by 2014.

Abernethy said through teacher development training and continuous student assessments, the school system is working to narrow the achievement gap for all students.

"What we have to do is make sure every single child will be able to maintain that progress to hit that standard, and we expect to do that before 2014," Abernethy said.




How did your school rate?


Results for the elementary and middle school Maryland School Assessment were released Tuesday.

To see how an individual school in the Washington County Public Schools system fared on the Maryland School Assessment, visit the Maryland State Department of Education's report card Web site at www.mdreportcard.org and pull down the tab for Washington County beside the label marked "School."

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