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Maryland students post mediocre results for science

The state released the results of the Maryland School Assessments for science this week and they improved only slightly over the past year.

The tests don't count for No Child Left Behind, and state officials believe that schools and teachers aren't stressing them much with students. Still they are some indicator of what students know.

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Only 63.7 percent of fifth-graders passed the test and only 65.3 percent of eighth-graders passed.

This is only the second year the exams have been given and there was a 4 percentage point gain in eighth grade, but the scores were flat in fifth.

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Still, the test results are about 20 percentage points below reading and math. State school board members seemed disappointed by the results, particularly since there is a new emphasis on math and science in a state trying to market itself to biotech research and businesses.

The state did release graphs comparing results in Maryland with other states. The tests are different, but Connecticut had a much higher pass rate than Maryland.

State schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick said she thought that the enormous effort that has been made on reading and math in the past five years under NCLB has sucked attention away from subjects like science and history.

I would like to know what science teachers out there have to say about how seriously they and their students take the tests and whether they believe their subject is given a lot less attention than it should be given.

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