Powhatan Elementary, Winfield Elementary and Windsor Mill Middle School also suffered substantial drops.

Childs Walker

Carroll

Carroll County schools again scored well above the state average in most categories measured by the MSAs, though they declined slightly in seven of the 12 grade-level measures of math and reading.

An unprecedented 12 Carroll schools failed to make adequate yearly progress, and three middle schools are entering school improvement after failing to meet progress standards for a second straight year.

Assistant Superintendent Steve Johnson said such results are inevitable under a federal policy that demands steady improvement, even for schools that score well above the state average.

"A lot of school systems are plateauing, and progress is becoming more difficult," he said. "The standard will eventually become almost impossible to reach, and as a result, fantastic schools will be labeled as failing."

The county's AYP rolls swelled despite the fact that Carroll students scored better than 90 percent proficient in eight of the 12 grade-level measures of math and reading.

Carroll saw its largest countywide dips in sixth-grade reading and seventh-grade math. Johnson said middle school math is a troublesome area in general, a trend that holds across the state.

"Is it a curriculum issue? An intervention issue?" he said. "We need to get our arms around that."

The three Carroll schools facing school improvement are East Middle, West Middle and New Windsor Middle.

Childs Walker

Harford

Harford County schools improved slightly in eight of the 12 grade-level categories measured by the MSAs and bested the state average in all 12 areas.

"As our schools reach the highest levels of proficiency — well into the 90s — significant increases become more difficult to achieve," said Superintendent Robert M. Tomback. "With that said, our administrators and teachers continue to work diligently to identify and address the needs of individual children, helping each to meet the high expectations established."

Nine Harford elementary schools failed to make AYP goals and two of them, Magnolia and William Paca/Old Post Road, will have to offer tutoring to Title I students after failing to meet standards for a second straight year.

Spokeswoman Teri Kranefeld noted that scores at William Paca/Old Post Road and Magnolia remained steady or improved in the vast majority of the 20 subgroups measured by the MSAs. "They're making significant progress in many subgroup areas," she said.

Seven of the county's nine middle schools failed to meet progress goals. Kranefeld said the county doesn't look for trends at schools failing to make adequate progress as much as it looks at potential improvements in subgroups at each school.

"We're doing a very close look at the data for each school to identify the areas where we need to improve," she said.

Harford showed its largest countywide drops in fifth-grade math and sixth-grade reading. Deerfield Elementary in Edgewood suffered some of the sharpest across-the-board drops of any school in the state.