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Latest Maryland Test Results Show Wide Achievement Disparities

Baltimore City recorded the lowest proficiency percentage in fifth and eighth grade students this year at nearly 12% and 9%, respectively.

This is a photo of Prince George's County Superintendent and Executive speaking to students.
Prince George’s County Superintendent Millard House II, left, talks with first-grade students on the first day of school Aug. 28 at Lake Arbor Elementary. Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks listens. (William J. Ford)

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The Maryland State Department of Education released detailed results Tuesday on how some students in the state’s 24 public school systems fared on the latest standardized tests.

Broader results from each school system were released last month from the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) tests students took during the 2002-23 school year.

The latest data are from tests taken by students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math.

Additional tests in English were administered for 10th graders; science tests were given to students in fifth and eighth grade; and students were tested who were enrolled in Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and geometry.

The data also broke down school system performance based on race, English language learners and students with disabilities.

Each school’s data and other information can be viewed on the state’s annual Maryland Report Card.

MCAP results are among the factors that determine the state’s report card and school star rating system. Schools get stars based on what percentage of total points they earned in measurement areas such as growth in achievement, high school graduation rates, student access to a well-rounded curriculum, progress in achieving English language proficiency, the prevalence of chronic absenteeism, and student and teacher perceptions of the school environment.

New reports were last issued in March, the first time the state dispensed the annual report card since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While discussing an update on a college and career readiness standard in the state’s Blueprint for Maryland’s Future education reform plan, State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury had a message Tuesday for parents and guardians with children at a school where MCAP test results are low.

“Your child is not a failure because they didn’t do well on the MCAP,” he said. “Your child knows a lot of things because [he or she] got that ‘B,’ that ‘A’ in their class. They know a lot of things and we’re going to acknowledge that and…we’re not going to use one approach to deem what they know.”

Here’s a summary of the proficiency level on how some schools fared on English, math and science:

English language arts

Twenty-two schools with students in grades 3, 4 and 5 recorded at least 90% proficient on the MCAP.

Bonnockburn Elementary in Montgomery County (94.7% in grade 3) had the highest proficiency level among all schools in English, according to the state data.

Glenarden Woods Elementary in Prince George’s County reached the highest proficiency level among fourth grade students at 94.2%. Another school in the county, Heather Hills Elementary, recorded the highest percentage of fifth grade students at 93.3%.

Schools that exceeded 90% proficiency in grades 6, 7, 8 and 10 are:

  • South Dorchester School in Dorchester County (91.7% grade 6 and 92% grade 7)
  • Thomas W. Pyle Middle School in Montgomery County (90.8% grade 8)
  • Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Washington County (92.6% grade 10)

Montgomery and Baltimore counties both had seven schools record at least 90% proficiency in English.

The state also reported schools that showed the lowest proficient level in these grades.

Several of those schools are in Baltimore City, including New Song Academy (5.9% grade 3), Bay-Brook Elementary/Middle School (5.1% grade 6) and National Academy Foundation (5.3% grade 10).

A few schools in the Baltimore area recorded some of the lowest percentages in middle and high school, including sixth grade students at Bay-Brook Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City (5.1%), seventh graders at Crossroads Center in Baltimore County (5.9%) and 10th graders at National Academy Foundation in the city.

Math

Glenarden Woods, a Talented and Gifted school (TAG), also had third grade students achieve a 90.1% proficiency level in math, one of the highest percentages in the state for that grade.

The other three schools with third graders to reach at least 90% proficiency were two schools in Montgomery County — Woodfield and Wayside elementary schools — and West Towson Elementary in Baltimore County.

Some schools reached 90% proficiency in Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and geometry.

Students who took Algebra 2 at Robert Frost Middle School in Montgomery County recorded the highest percentage in math at 94.7%, according to the MCAP results.

Students at Lime Kiln Middle School in Howard County also scored above 90% proficiency in that subject.

Three Howard County middle schools also achieved at least 90% in geometry — Clarksville (93.3%), Burleigh Manor (93%) and Mount View (91.3%).

Students at Greenbelt Middle School in Prince George’s also exceeded above 90% proficiency in geometry.

On the opposite end, several schools recorded slightly above 5% proficiency in math at various grade levels.

The state reported several of those schools are located in the majority-Black jurisdictions of Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. These include Highlandtown Elementary/Middle in Baltimore (grade 3), Gwynns Falls Elementary in Baltimore (grade 4), John Hanson Montessori in Prince George’s (grade 4) and Chillum Elementary in Prince George’s (grade 5).

Three Montgomery County middle schools recorded some of the lowest proficiency levels at 5.1%, including Forest Oak (sixth grade), Briggs Chaney (seventh grade) and Julius West (eighth grade).

Science

Test scores showed seven elementary schools in four counties with fifth graders recording at least 80% proficiency in science. Those schools were West Towson (89.7%) and Rodgers Forge (80.5%) in Baltimore County, Bells Mill (87.4%) and Cold Spring (82.8%) in Montgomery, Glenarden Woods (85%) and Heather Hills (84.4%) in Prince George’s and Benfield (86.6%) in Anne Arundel.

Eighth grade students at Monocacy Valley Montessori in Frederick County was the only middle school in the state to achieve at least 80% proficiency in science.

Two other middle schools — Clarksville in Howard and Thomas W. Pyle in Montgomery — had eighth graders that exceeded 70% proficiency.

MCAP results also show which elementary schools recorded the lowest percentage of students in grades 5 and 8 who were proficient in science.

A few of the schools with fifth graders that achieved 6% proficiency or lower were Moravia Park in Baltimore City, Oakleigh in Baltimore County and Carmody Hills in Prince George’s.

Eighth grade students were just slightly above 5% proficient in science at some schools, including Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Prince George’s and Maree Garnett Farring Elementary/Middle School and KIPP Harmony Academy in Baltimore.

Statewide test results in science showed a slight increase by fifth grade students overall at 35% proficient, compared to nearly 31% last year.

But there was a decrease among eighth grade students statewide, who scored 26% proficient, versus 35% last year.

Student performance by race last year broke down this way:

  • Asian students: 59% of fifth graders were proficient this year compared to 56% last year; eighth graders were 56% proficient this year and 69% last year.
  • White students: eighth graders were proficient at a 53% rate this year and at 46% last year; eighth graders were at nearly 42% proficient this year and 52% last year.
  • Black students: eighth graders were at 20% this year and 17% last year; eighth graders were at 13% this year and 20% last year.
  • Latino students: fifth graders were at 20% this year and 17% last year; eighth graders were at 13% this year and 20% last year.

Carroll County fifth graders recorded the highest proficiency percentage statewide this year at 54%, compared to 45% last year. Howard County eighth graders achieved the highest percentage at 42%, but that represents a 12-point decrease from last year.

Baltimore City recorded the lowest proficiency percentage in fifth and eighth grade students this year at nearly 12% and 9%, respectively. The percentage in fifth grade increased by nearly 3 points from last year, but decreased by that same figure in eighth grade.

This story was originally published by Maryland Matters.

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