A third of Maryland fifth and eighth graders scored “proficient” on standardized tests in science this spring, according to data released this week.
About 30% of fifth graders and 35% of eighth graders passed the standardized test known as the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program, which was administered in the spring.
The figures reflect a decline from scores gathered in 2021 and 2019. Standardized testing was halted in Maryland in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
In 2019, about 29% of fifth graders scored proficient in science. Those figures later rose to 40% in 2021, when the assessments were shortened and administered in the fall.
About 37% of eighth graders scored proficient in science in 2019, but performed slightly worse on the test in 2021 when about 36% were deemed proficient.
The state has previously released scores in other subjects showing just 15% of public school students passed in math and 35% passed in English, marking the greatest single-year declines on any state tests given in at least the past two decades in Maryland.
The standardized tests are designed to provide educators, families and the public with a forecast of student progress on educational standards and to fulfill federal and state assessment requirements. The tests are considered difficult to pass, with more than half of the state’s public school students regularly failing the tests in years before the pandemic.
Federal law requires schools to annually assess students in grades 3-8 and once in high school in English language arts, mathematics and science. Maryland code also requires student assessments in government in high school and social studies in grade 8.