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Harford performs well on MSA tests

The Baltimore Sun

Harford County elementary and middle school students turned in solid performances on this year's Maryland School Assessment, with most schools exceeding the state average in the annual tests, and one school's entire fourth grade passing the math and reading tests.

Jarrettsville Elementary's principal attributed the fourth-graders' 100 percent passing rate to the academic environment and development fostered by the students, parents and teachers at the school.

Overall, students in Harford elementary schools and middle schools made modest gains in math and reading.

In March, students in grades three through eight took the MSA in reading and math as part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. State schools officials released results last week.

At the elementary level, 85.3 percent of county students passed the tests, compared with the statewide average of 81 percent.

Here is the breakdown by grade levels:

Third-graders showed a 2.2 percentage point increase in writing and a 3 percentage point decrease in math.

Fourth-graders turned in the best results among county elementary students who took the test, with 90.6 percent passing the reading portion and 88.9 percent passing the math exam. They showed increases by 1 percentage point in reading and 2.1 percentage point in math from the previous year.

Fifth-graders showed gains in math, with an increase of 6 percentage points, but showed a slight dip - 1.1 percentage points - in reading.

Jarrettsville Elementary Principal Richard Russell credited the staff and the students for the fourth-graders' 100 percent passing rate this year.

"Their success is cumulative," Russell said. "It's everything that's been done in Jarrettsville since kindergarten. It's the staff development and efforts being put in as they move up to the testable grades - third, fourth and fifth grades"

The elementary was the county's third-highest-ranking school with respect to passing rates, but Russell said the school still has work to do. Teachers and staff will identify students who are between categories and help them rise to the next level during before- or after-school sessions and small-group activities, the principal said.

Following a statewide trend, the middle school MSA scores were lower than those for elementary schools.

"It has been a little bit of a pattern over the last few years," said Don Morrison, spokesman for the county school system. "Based on the preliminary look at the results, they just aren't doing as well. ... It's a great concern to the curriculum people."

Harford middle schools had a composite passing rate of 73.1 - which was higher than the state's 67.5 percent. But six of the county's 10 middle schools did not exceed the state average.

Here is the breakdown by middle school grade levels:

Sixth-graders saw boosts in both subjects this year. They had a 6.1 percentage point jump in math and a 1.9 percentage point rise from last year's reading score.

Seventh-graders saw a decline by 2.4 percentage points in reading and no change in math from the 2006 results.

Eighth-graders showed a modest 0.7 percentage point gain in reading, but a slight drop - 0.5 percentage points - in math.

For a comprehensive, downloadable list of reading and math test scores for every school in Maryland, visit

This table shows the percentage of students

This table shows the percentage of students who scored at advanced or proficient levels on reading and math tests as part of the Maryland School Assessment. The official scores are online at the Maryland Report Card Web site ( Scores reported here from past years may differ slightly from scores reported online because of interim corrections.


Maryland Schools 76.5 71.8 70.3 71.1 68.4 67.0 71.9 65.6 61.4 60.1 56.7 55.0

Harford County

Harford Schools 80.1 78.2 79.9 82.3 78.1 77.4 75.5 69.4 64.4 64.4 60.8 61.3

Aberdeen 72.5 68.2 69.3 74.6 65.9 56.6 59.9 53.2 54.4 45.5 43.6 38.3

Bel Air 89.6 88.8 92.5 91.9 92.8 90.1 88.0 83.2 86.9 83.3 83.9 80.2

Edgewood 64.8 67.6 67.6 67.7 59.2 62.0 63.0 61.9 37.6 39.7 29.4 28.8

Fallston 85.1 83.8 89.3 89.8 86.2 86.4 81.0 78.1 78.3 82.0 79.3 75.5

Havre de Grace 71.1 69.0 74.2 77.8 82.6 77.0 73.6 60.9 51.8 47.3 49.5 55.6

Magnolia 70.8 66.5 68.3 76.0 71.2 68.0 70.5 57.8 49.6 57.7 47.9 46.5

North Harford 83.6 82.5 82.7 89.8 82.6 84.8 77.6 73.5 63.4 70.7 62.4 69.7

Southampton 89.9 90.8 88.5 88.7 84.9 89.8 82.9 78.3 78.2 77.2 75.7 83.1

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