Carroll County students’ proficiency in math and English generally increased last year, according to results from the Maryland State Comprehensive Assessment shared with the Board of Education last week.
Kendra Hart, Title I, testing & school performance supervisor for county public schools, told the board that despite modest improvements, math scores have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
A test designed to assess college and career readiness, the MCAP plays a role in determining a school’s star system rating. All students in grades 3 through 8 take the comprehensive assessment, as well as those enrolled in Algebra I, English 10, history and biology.
A student can earn one of four scores on an MCAP test: distinguished learner, proficient learner, developing learner or beginning learner. Each student that scores proficient or distinguished is counted toward the school system’s proficiency level.
Carroll ranked second highest in Maryland for mathematics and English proficiencies for grades 3-8, with 68% of students scoring proficient or higher in English and 40% of students at least proficient in math. Only Worcester County scored higher than Carroll in those categories.
The test was administered twice in the 2022-2023 school year, once in December or January and again from March to May, Hart said.
While 68% of English 10 test-takers were at least proficient in the subject, only 22% of algebra 1 test-takers scored proficient or higher.
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Math proficiency rates increased 5% or less for grades 3-5, and by 10% for grade 8 mathematics. Students who receive free or reduced-price meals, sometimes called FaRM students, were more proficient in math at all levels except Algebra I.
About 65% of third-grade math students scored proficient or higher, decreasing to 56% for fourth; 43% fifth; 25% for sixth; 26% for seventh; 21% for eighth; and 22% for Algebra 1.
In English, 63% to 68% of Carroll students scored proficient or higher, while 42% to 54% of Maryland test-takers scored proficient or higher across English MCAP levels, on average.
Math can be an especially difficult subject for students to catch up on because many math concepts build upon previous knowledge in a way that English does not, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Nicholas Shockney said. CCPS staff are working to improve instruction and MCAP scores by aligning instruction and assessment with the MCAP, expanding math interventions and improving educator collaboration in first-pass math instruction.
Board of Education President Marsha Herbert said she saw firsthand how hard it was for students to focus on math lessons during online instruction when she helped her granddaughter with school amid the pandemic.
“I saw many days — girls rolling around in their beds with their stuffed animals, boys in their underwear playing with their dogs, and let me tell you — they did not get concepts that year,” Herbert said. “And it’s one [concept] based on the other, based on the other, so we’ve got to get these up.”