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Improvements moved Bester off Md. alert list

July 31, 2005

Bester Elementary School moved off the State Department of Education's alert list this year after it made sufficient improvement on the 2005 Maryland School Assessments.

Schools that fail to make the grade in one of the categories measured by the math and reading tests are placed on alert and can face state sanctions if they fail to improve in subsequent years.

The state and federal governments track the achievement of students and subgroups of students, including minority and special-education students, in determining how well schools are doing.

In 2004, Bester was one of 277 schools that failed to achieve proficiency in one or more categories on the 2004 Maryland School Assessment.

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Bester failed to make the grade on the math portion of the 2004 Maryland School Assessment because of the performance of its special-education students on the math portion of the test. Just three of Bester's 28 special-education students passed last year, compared to about half this year.

If scores had not risen in that category, the school would have entered the first year of School Improvement and been required to bus interested students to higher achieving schools.

The state requires high-poverty schools, such as Bester, that fail to perform after School Improvement Year One to provide extra services, such as tutoring, to low-income students. In subsequent years, remedies can include the replacement of school staffs or curriculum.

By the fifth year, restructuring might include local school system takeover of school operations or other actions.

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