In Anne Arundel County, more elementary schools did not meet adequate yearly progress targets this year than last year.
Overall, 67 of Anne Arundel's 78 elementary schools made the yearly progress targets, down from 72 last year. Seven of the county's 19 middle schools made the mark, up from five last year.
Thirteen Anne Arundel schools missed the target for the first time: Magothy River Middle and Old Mill Middle School South, as well as Broadneck, George T. Cromwell, Glen Burnie Park, Hebron-Harman, High Point, Jacobsville, Maryland City, Oakwood, Rippling Woods, Seven Oaks and Van Bokkelen elementaries.
Anne Arundel showed improvement throughout the system in reading and math on the Maryland School Assessment tests. In reading, 92.3 percent of elementary school students passed, compared with 91.1 percent a year ago. In math, 92 percent of elementary school students passed, compared with 91.3 percent a year ago.
At the middle school level, 87.4 percent of students passed reading and 78.4 percent passed the math portion.
Among county schools that had previously missed AYP goals, Wiley H. Bates Middle School showed a turnaround. The school missed a dozen AYP marks last year but this year met all target areas. Bates is under a school improvement program but will be removed if it meets the goals next year.
"These results are the work of so many people, not just in the last year, but over many years," Bates Principal Diane Bragdon said. "Our focus on arts integration, increased parental involvement, emphasis on positive behavior supports, collaborative planning by a talented and dedicated staff, and the use of technology have all combined to lead us to the place where we are today."
Monarch Academy and six elementary schools that missed AYP targets last year met them this year.
Baltimore County schools made slight improvements in reading and math at most grade levels measured by the Maryland School Assessments, taking steps backward in sixth-grade reading and eighth-grade math.
In general, the county's elementary schools performed better relative to the rest of the state than did its middle schools, which ranked slightly below the state average in every category except eighth-grade reading.
Deputy Superintendent Renee Foose said the county was still sorting through which schools did and did not make adequate yearly progress under federal No Child Left Behind standards. Preliminary numbers showed 22 schools failing to meet the progress goals for the first time and 21 in school improvement, meaning that they failed to meet standards for consecutive years.
Foose noted the county's improved performance among special-education students, students who receive free and reduced-price lunches, and students who receive language help.
"We're most proud of the record numbers of students who receive services scoring above the proficient level in elementary school," she said.
Foose said she was not too troubled by countywide dips in sixth-grade reading and eighth-grade math. "From year to year, us seeing a decline in one particular cohort isn't as significant as it might appear," she said. "If we saw a pattern over a series of years, that might be more of a curricular issue."
The most alarming drops occurred at Woodlawn Middle School, where math scores fell 20.7 percentage points and reading scores fell 15.1 percentage points. Woodlawn spent eight years in the state's school improvement program, emerging, to much acclaim, in 2009. The school improved its scores again last year before this year's precipitous drop.
Foose said the Woodlawn numbers grabbed her attention, but it's too early to explain them. "At this point, we haven't drilled down to individual schools," she said. "There will definitely be a course of action under way to address those concerns."
Woodlawn Principal April Jones said she and her leadership team were examining the scores but were not yet prepared to discuss why they fell or plans to improve.