Test scores higher

School officials praise student performance

School officials praise student performance

August 29, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Students required to pass High School Assessments in order to graduate are taking the tests seriously and are performing well, Washington County Public Schools officials said Tuesday.

The pass rate also is up for all students who took the exams in algebra, English, biology and government.

Students who entered high school in 2005-06 and who are expected to graduate in 2009 are the first group of students who must pass the High School Assessments in order to receive a Maryland high school diploma, according to Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction Donna Hanlin.

Ninety-seven percent of students who took the test and are expected to graduate in 2009 passed the algebra assessment, and 94 percent of those same students passed the biology exam, according to school system data. Of those students, 89 percent passed the English assessment, and 93.6 percent passed the government exam.

"We are in great shape," Hanlin said.


On average, about 11 percent of students have not taken the assessments, officials said.

The percentage of high school students overall who passed the High School Assessments algebra exam increased to 89.2 this year, up from 88.2 percent last year, schools officials said. In 2005, 73.9 percent of the county's high school students passed the algebra test, officials said.

"I'm very, very pleased with the results," Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said.

The most significant gain this year was in English, where students passed 77.3 percent of the 1,649 tests that were taken.

In 2006, students passed just 66.5 percent of English exams.

Of the 1,613 biology assessments taken in 2007, 80.3 percent were passed. That was a slight increase from 2006 when 80.1 percent of students passed, officials said. In 2005, 67.8 percent passed that exam, officials have said.

In 2007, students passed 86.6 percent of the government exams taken in Washington County Public Schools, an increase from 80.5 percent in 2006.

The school system moved its government course in 2005 from ninth grade to 10th grade. Not enough students took the High School Assessment in that subject in 2005 to have comparable data, officials said. In 2004, 66.7 percent of students passed the test.

Detailed information broken down by race, sex and other groups was not available Tuesday, officials said, but it will be provided at another time.

South Hagerstown High School Principal Rick Akers said he credits hard work by students and teachers for this year's success.

He said changes in curriculum also are responsible for improvement on High School Assessments. Targeted interventions and data analysis also helped students pass the exams, Akers said.

"There are reasons that student achievement has risen to the level that it has," he said.

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