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Student mobility might affect scores

April 08, 2006|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

A report released Tuesday showed there could be a relationship between low Maryland School Assessment scores and students who switch schools.

The Student Mobility Report discussed at the Washington County Board of Education meeting showed a trend toward lower scores for those students with high mobility rates. Officials pointed out that the data is not conclusive.

Washington County students in elementary and middle schools were included in the report.

Last year thousands of students moved to different schools within the county, officials said Tuesday. Some of those students moved multiple times.

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Board members said there may be other problems contributing to low reading and math scores other than mobility, such as family problems.

"We realize mobility is a problem," said Board Vice President Jacqueline Fischer. "But I'm not sure we could provide the transportation to keep the students (in the same schools)."

In the report, three groups were studied in several grade levels.

In the elementary student groups were students who were enrolled in the same Washington County public school from first grade to fifth grade. The second group included students enrolled in two county schools for the same grades, and students in the third group were students who were not members of the first two groups.

Middle school students were placed in the same groups.

Their test scores were categorized into basic, proficient and advanced in both reading and math.

Students with fewer moves were more likely to score proficient or advanced, according to the data. Students who moved to several different schools in only a few years had a higher number of basic scores.

For example, 44.9 percent of Washington County fifth-graders scored at a proficient level on the assessment, according to 2005 data. About 19.5 percent scored at a basic level.

Of county fifth-graders who attended the same school from first to fifth grade, only 13.9 percent scored at a basic level.

About 20 percent of students who moved between two or more schools in that same time period scored at a basic level, the data states.

While the Board discussed the student mobility report, no action was taken Tuesday.

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