Marginal gains in Howard schools' HSA scores

The Maryland State Department of Education this week released high school assessment scores, and graduating seniors in Howard County had marginal changes in their scores, performing only fractionally better than their peers across the state.

In the class of 2013, 90.5 students took and passed all of the four tests: algebra/data analysis, biology, English and government. That’s up slightly from 90.2 percent in the class of 2012. Statewide, that number was 89.9 percent this year.

Fewer than five percent of graduating seniors this year had to complete a bridge project in lieu of the HSA, school officials said. Statewide, that number was 10 percent.

Among each of the four tests, 97.2 percent of graduating seniors this year passed the algebra/data analysis test, up from 96.7 percent this year. In biology, 95.7 percent passed, up from 96.5 percent last year. In English, 93.6 percent passed, down from 94.1 percent last year. In government, 93.2 percent passed, down from 93.7 percent last year.

“While we’re pleased with our HSA results, this is an assessment that is sunsetting,” said Howard schools spokeswoman Rebecca Amani-Dove. “Our focus is on implementing a much more rigorous curriculum steeped in the Common Core standards and preparing our students for success on the upcoming PARCC assessments that promises to hold a higher level of rigor aligned to college- and career-readiness.”

The graduation rate for high school seniors were released as well: the four-year cohort rate for the class of 2012 was 90.39 in Howard County; statewide, the four-year cohort graduation rate for the class of 2012 was 83.57 percent.

The five-year cohort graduation rate for Howard County’s class of 2011 was 92.73 percent. The drop-out rate for the class of 2012 was 6.02, up from the 5.93 percent in the class of 2011, but lower than the statewide 2012 rate of 10.22 percent. The four-year cohort rate for the class of 2013 and the five-year cohort rate for the class of 2012 will be released next year.

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