Arundel MSA scores are slightly lower than originally reported

Maryland School Assessment test results have been revised for some Anne Arundel County students, causing the county's overall scores to fall slightly from what was reported earlier.

Revisions were made to include results from a modified version of the test (known as MOD-MSA) that school officials said was taken by special-education students unable to take the regular MSA. Anne Arundel officials said that 1.6 percent of students were administered the MOD-MSA but the MOD-MSA scores were not factored in when results were reported in July.

Overall, the percentage of elementary students who passed the math exam was 93.2 percent, up by 1.2 percentage points from the previous year, while the percentage of those who passed the exam in reading was 92.5 percent, up by 0.2 points. The county had earlier reported that 93.8 percent of elementary students had passed the math exam and 93.2 percent had passed reading.

In addition, 85.7 percent of middle-school students passed reading, down 1.7 points from the previous year, while 81 percent passed math, an increase of 2.6 points. The county earlier had reported the passing numbers as 86.5 percent and 82 percent, respectively.

"This is a transparency thing; we're letting people know that that file wasn't included inadvertently. We discovered it in the compilation of an entirely different report over the last couple of weeks," said Anne Arundel schools spokesman Bob Mosier. "We're still seeing significant gains; some of them weren't quite as high as we originally reported."

Mosier said the omission was due to human error. "It was just a matter of the one file not getting included," he said. "Those things unfortunately happen."

Though the revisions did not change whether schools met the state's goals, many overall marks were significantly altered in specific tested groups, particularly among special education students. The percentage of special education students passing the MSA in math rose in five of six tested grades, including 9.4 points in the seventh grade and 5.2 points in the eighth grade, school officials said.

Increases were also seen among racial categories: Students who classify themselves as being of two or more races had middle-school math scores increase by 3.7 percentage points, while Hispanic students' scores rose 2.9 percent in middle-school math and African-American student scores rose 2.5 percent in the category.

However, passing scores for special-education students decreased 1.4 points in elementary-school reading and 4.1 points in middle-school reading.

Anne Arundel is the second local school district to see alterations in MSA results data. In July, revisions were made to the special-education scores at Clarksville Middle School and Mount View Middle School in Howard County. As a result, Clarksville was found to have met improvement targets in math and reading, while Mount View met targets in math.

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