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Exams reveal racial divide, math troubles

Although performing about average when compared with the rest of Maryland, Baltimore County students who took the state's new high-stakes assessment tests last school year didn't perform well in mathematics, while overall middle school scores dropped sharply.

In results released Friday, African-American students significantly trailed their white peers on the new Maryland School Assessment tests, sometimes scoring no better than classmates with limited English skills.

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Special-education students also performed poorly.

And at least 45 of the county's 162 public schools didn't meet all of the targets set by the State Department of Education. As a result, they could eventually face an overhaul of instruction and replacement of staff.

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Some high schools may be added later because their geometry results are being double-checked for errors.

Overall, the students performed better than peers in Baltimore City, about the same as counterparts in Anne Arundel County, and worse than children in Carroll, Harford and Howard county schools.

Superintendent Joe A. Hairston cautioned against reading too much into the results, emphasizing that the scores are the first from the new tests replacing the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program exams.

"This has nothing to do with ranking schools," he said. "It has everything to do with establishing a baseline so we can begin to measure the growth from point A to point B."

Hairston said the school system would use the results to target areas needing improvement. And the scores are fairly consistent with the readings from other standardized tests, such as a drop in CTBS scores released last month.

At the time, school officials dismissed the CTBS scores, saying pupils may have performed poorly merely because the tests were being phased out.

Even before the most recent test results, the superintendent had identified mathematics instruction, middle schools and the special education program for improvement.

In this year's budget, he allocated more money to train math teachers. A task force is fleshing out his recommendations for drastic changes in middle school education. And the school board last week approved a $99,500 study of special education.

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The MSA tests, which were given to third-, fifth-, eighth- and 10th-graders in March, are designed to measure the proficiency of students. For example, a student taking the geometry test in high school demonstrates proficiency by correctly answering questions involving basic skills and concepts.

In Baltimore County public schools, the percentage of eighth-graders demonstrating proficiency or better dropped by about 10 percent from the percentage of fifth-graders who did.

In reading, 59.8 percent of eighth-graders scored proficient or better; in math, 39.5 percent did.

African-American students scored poorly. Black eighth-graders and high school students performed worse than classmates with limited English skills, and African-American students overall trailed whites by wide margins.

In high school, only 16.5 percent of black students scored proficient or better on the geometry test, while 42 percent of their white classmates did.

"It just seems that the gap is not closing - it's widening," said Ella White Campbell, a former educator who is a Randallstown activist. "And it's not going to close until we change some teaching strategies in the schools. We have got to retrain our teachers on the idea of connectivity - how to get African-American children to understand key concepts."

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The new tests were instituted in response to a federal law raising standards for schools.

The No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to meet all annual targets of academic achievement for all of their students.

If schools fail to meet even one target for two years in a row, they start down a path of remediation.

Nearly half of the county's middle schools - 13 - didn't meet all of the targets.

"It is a concern. Something does happen in middle schools," said Mary Pat Kahle, a Timonium parent who served on a committee that studied problems with the county's middle schools and suggested improvements to the superintendent. Most of the schools that failed to meet all of the targets were hurt by the scores of their special education students.

The percentage of special education students scoring proficient or better ranged from a high of 43.2 percent on the third-grade math test to a low of 7.1 percent on the eighth grade math exam - both scores far below the overall county results.

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"It's indicative of what parents as well as educators have been saying for a long time - that we are not adequately addressing the needs and the achievement of students receiving special education services," said Kelli Nelson, who heads a parents committee advising the school board on special-education issues.

Four schools - Scotts Branch Elementary, Old Court Middle, Woodlawn Middle and Chesapeake High - missed one or both of the targets set for all of their students. Lansdowne Middle missed the math target for African-American pupils.

"I know that the school is on a path to improvement," said Old Court Principal Irra L. Woodley, who declined to elaborate and said she hadn't seen the scores yet.

More information is available at www.mdreportcard.org.

BALTIMORE COUNTY ELEMENTARY

This table shows the reading and math scores for students in tests administered in the spring under the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) program. The number represents the percentage of students who scored at the proficient level or above in that subject. The final column, for "adequate yearly progress," shows whether students in all demographic groups met standards set by the state in each subject area.

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..... ..........3rd 3rd 5th 5th Met

School Read. Math Read. Math goal?

Arbutus 55.6 76.2 62.3 46.4 Yes

Baltimore Highlands 55.1 44.9 36.8 13.2 No

Battle Grove 55.3 57.4 51.2 26.8 Yes

Bear Creek 66.7 72.0 60.9 48.3 Yes

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Bedford 56.8 48.1 68.1 49.3 Yes

Berkshire 53.6 47.8 63.3 36.7 Yes

Carney 64.4 63.0 78.1 63.8 Yes

Carroll Manor 96.1 100.0 96.5 91.2 Yes

Catonsville 80.6 79.0 72.0 57.3 Yes

Cedarmere 68.4 70.9 79.8 61.7 Yes

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Chadwick 46.7 50.8 52.3 44.6 Yes

Chapel Hill 71.7 80.8 76.8 56.8 Yes

Charlesmont 56.0 74.0 50.8 33.9 Yes

Chase 56.1 51.2 57.9 33.3 Yes

Chatsworth 63.7 71.2 67.1 63.9 Yes

Chesapeake Terr. 52.2 63.0 64.3 32.1 No

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Church Lane 62.5 56.8 78.3 56.5 Yes

Colgate 41.7 46.7 58.1 46.5 Yes

Cromwell Valley 85.9 90.1 97.1 84.1 Yes

Deep Creek 40.7 59.3 50.0 36.5 Yes

Deer Park 43.0 58.1 60.2 41.9 No

Dogwood 53.3 50.5 45.7 27.6 No

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Dundalk 44.4 38.4 59.6 33.9 No

Eastwood Center 74.1 59.3 65.0 55.0 Yes

Edgemere 66.7 74.4 70.9 55.7 Yes

Edmondson Heights 37.2 48.7 49.1 42.1 No

Elmwood 52.4 56.1 53.7 32.5 Yes

Essex 61.0 66.1 71.3 48.3 Yes

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Featherbed Lane 43.4 49.4 51.7 36.4 Yes

Fifth District 77.8 82.2 83.3 75.0 Yes

Fort Garrison 84.8 79.7 85.4 74.2 Yes

Franklin 86.7 85.5 88.8 66.4 Yes

Fullerton 84.6 93.8 65.6 55.6 Yes

Glenmar 50.0 46.2 58.3 29.2 No

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Glyndon 74.7 83.1 77.9 58.4 Yes

Grange 86.4 89.8 87.5 63.9 Yes

Gunpowder 78.0 84.0 81.3 60.4 Yes

Halethorpe 64.1 68.7 79.2 53.2 Yes

Halstead Academy 38.6 34.9 44.9 29.5 No

Hampton 79.4 75.0 82.7 73.1 Yes

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Harford Hills 68.2 77.3 73.4 53.1 Yes

Hawthorne 49.4 57.0 57.0 34.9 Yes

Hebbville 50.0 48.7 41.4 27.6 No

Hernwood 31.8 36.4 61.3 34.4 No

Hillcrest 73.8 70.5 83.2 67.3 Yes

Jacksonville 90.3 87.4 91.3 82.5 Yes

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Johnnycake 51.5 43.4 65.3 30.6 Yes

Joppa View 83.5 81.2 87.5 63.4 Yes

Kingsville 80.0 92.5 86.8 86.8 Yes

Lansdowne 54.8 61.9 65.6 42.2 Yes

Logan 55.7 59.0 56.7 29.8 Yes

Lutherville Lab 88.7 95.8 96.0 81.3 Yes

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Mars Estates 56.7 61.7 57.4 37.0 Yes

Martin Boulevard 69.7 84.8 58.3 41.7 Yes

McCormick 64.4 53.4 62.8 38.5 Yes

Middleborough 63.0 84.8 75.8 58.1 Yes

Middlesex 55.2 53.7 54.3 30.0 No

Milbrook 58.5 44.6 63.0 50.0 Yes

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New Town 70.1 66.7 63.7 36.4 No

Norwood 57.7 56.7 52.9 42.2 No

Oakleigh 58.9 63.0 81.9 63.8 Yes

Oliver Beach 70.8 79.2 68.4 56.1 Yes

Orems 72.7 84.1 82.4 72.5 Yes

Owings Mills 47.7 53.2 56.4 37.6 No

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Padonia 72.3 89.4 86.8 73.6 Yes

Perry Hall 58.4 51.9 72.5 48.0 Yes

Pine Grove 73.2 79.4 84.5 75.3 Yes

Pinewood 74.7 83.5 88.1 76.2 Yes

Pleasant Plains 72.7 72.7 75.0 52.1 Yes

Pot Spring 73.9 76.1 81.3 68.1 Yes

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Powhatan 48.9 59.6 61.5 33.8 Yes

Prettyboy 82.5 87.5 89.2 75.5 Yes

Randallstown 52.5 65.6 54.3 34.3 Yes

Red House Run 51.3 67.1 65.5 44.8 Yes

Reisterstown 63.0 69.9 79.2 64.6 Yes

Relay 68.4 54.4 76.1 65.9 No

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Riderwood 83.8 88.9 93.5 84.1 Yes

Riverview 47.3 48.6 52.2 41.1 Yes

Rodgers Forge 88.6 88.6 91.3 80.4 Yes

Sandalwood 35.4 36.4 43.8 31.5 No

Sandy Plains 49.0 45.8 45.9 36.5 No

Scotts Branch 42.7 40.6 50.0 20.8 No

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Seneca 68.7 65.6 62.9 38.7 Yes

Seven Oaks 86.4 89.4 78.6 70.9 Yes

Seventh District 73.2 78.6 91.8 82.2 Yes

Shady Spring 53.7 57.5 53.6 35.4 Yes

Sparks 86.0 91.9 92.5 82.5 Yes

Stoneleigh 93.4 90.8 92.3 80.2 Yes

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Summit Park 96.3 98.1 96.0 94.0 Yes

Sussex 58.1 74.3 48.4 35.9 Yes

Timber Grove 71.9 71.9 85.2 62.3 Yes

Timonium 75.0 88.9 94.4 90.3 Yes

Victory Villa 48.2 66.1 64.9 45.2 Yes

Villa Cresta 68.5 67.4 66.1 47.7 Yes

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Warren 72.6 80.6 87.7 64.6 Yes

Wellwood 71.3 66.7 81.9 63.9 Yes

Westchester 79.5 84.3 90.2 72.8 Yes

Westowne 62.3 75.4 81.0 50.8 Yes

White Oak 18.9 21.6 37.8 8.1 No

Winand 40.8 45.6 60.0 31.3 Yes

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Winfield 40.6 44.4 45.6 33.8 No

Woodbridge 69.5 74.6 75.4 46.4 Yes

Woodmoor 43.1 36.2 50.0 35.2 No

SOURCE: Md. Dept. of Education

BALTIMORE COUNTY MIDDLE

This table shows the reading and math scores for students in tests administered in the spring under the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) program. The number represents the percentage of students who scored at the proficient level or above in that subject. The final column, for "adequate yearly progress," shows whether students in all demographic groups met standards set by the state in each subject area.

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..... ......... 8th 8th Met

School Read. Math goal?

Arbutus 63.4 36.3 Yes

Catonsville 77.3 65.7 Yes

Cockeysville 79.2 71.1 Yes

Deep Creek 43.6 16.9 No

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Deer Park 58.3 32.5 No

Dumbarton 67.3 66.3 No

Dundalk 47.9 19.1 No

Franklin 71.5 56.0 Yes

Gen. John Stricker 51.4 29.2 No

Golden Ring 49.0 22.4 No

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Hereford 86.1 73.4 Yes

Holabird 58.3 29.5 Yes

Inverness 16.0 0.0 No

Lansdowne 36.2 16.1 No

Loch Raven 55.1 25.4 No

Meadowood 17.2 3.4 Yes

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Middle River 48.3 27.1 No

Old Court 30.8 10.9 No

Parkville 77.0 49.1 Yes

Perry Hall 78.4 64.8 Yes

Pikesville 58.7 38.7 Yes

Pine Grove 81.2 65.4 Yes

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Ridgely 82.2 66.3 Yes

Rosedale 16.2 0.0 No

Southwest

Academy 43.0 19.4 No

Sparrows Point 61.3 31.9 Yes

Stemmers Run 45.9 22.0 No

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Sudbrook 86.6 63.0 Yes

Woodlawn 29.6 7.2 No

SOURCE: Md. Dept. of Education

BALTIMORE COUNTY HIGH

This table shows the reading and math scores for students in tests administered in the spring under the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) program. The number represents the percentage of students who scored at the proficient level or above in that subject. The final column, for "adequate yearly progress," shows whether students in all demographic groups met standards set by the state in each subject area. The 10th grade math score represents results of the state's High School Assessment geometry exam; it is not yet counted in judging adequate yearly progress.

..... .........10th 10th Met

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School Read. Math goal?

Carver 89.7 54.8 Yes

Catonsville 67.3 58.7 Yes

Catonsville Alter. 11.1 NA No

Chesapeake 33.3 9.6 No

Dulaney 84.5 68.5 Yes

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Dundalk 51.1 28.2 No

Eastern Tech 90.8 61.6 Yes

Evening 12.3 10.0 No

Franklin 79.7 62.5 Yes

Hereford 82.3 73.0 Yes

Inverness 34.8 14.3 No

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Kenwood 43.1 22.8 No

Lansdowne 43.2 23.3 No

Loch Raven 86.6 64.8 Yes

Milford Mill 38.2 6.4 No

Overlea 34.1 7.3 No

Owings Mills 64.0 32.0 No

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Parkville 54.6 40.4 No

Patapsco 53.1 38.5 No

Perry Hall 79.6 59.8 Yes

Pikesville 81.8 56.3 Yes

Randallstown 51.5 11.7 No

Sparrows Point 58.9 44.1 Yes

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Towson 90.9 81.1 Yes

Western 84.2 56.6 Yes

Woodlawn 42.5 9.5 No

SOURCE: Md. Dept. of Education


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