Two Anne Arundel County high schools -- Annapolis and Chesapeake -- remain on the state's watch list for improvement after failing to meet annual academic benchmarks under escalating standards of the federal No Child Left Behind law, according to information released Friday by the Maryland State Department of Education.
North County High moved off the list after special-education students' scores improved for two consecutive years.
"These results show that while we continue to have work to do at a couple of our high schools, we are meeting the ever-rising standards at a large majority of them," county Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell said in a statement.
The new information came out a month after the state released data showing more Anne Arundel County high school students passed state English, algebra and biology tests in the 2006-2007 school year than in the previous year. However, African-American and Hispanic students' performance continued to lag in some schools.
No Child Left Behind requires a gradual increase in the percentage of students passing state tests and in the number of graduates making "adequate yearly progress" for a school to avoid sanctions.
The law not only requires the overall student body to meet these targets, but expects increasingly high passing rates among racial and socioeconomic subgroups as well.
Chesapeake High missed meeting its reading benchmark by a margin of two special-education students. Annapolis High did not meet the overall target in graduation rate (about half of black males at the school do not graduate in four years) or reading targets for special-education and low-income students.