|Release Date: 7/10/2012||Contact: Charles Herndon, 410-887-6111|
TOWSON, MD. – Baltimore County Public Schools saw broad gains in student performance on state elementary reading and mathematics scores this year, according to the 2012 Maryland State Assessment test scores released today. The elementary grades’ results continue progress made last year; every subgroup at each elementary grade level achieved two-year proficiency growth in both reading and mathematics. Today’s test results also show promising growth among subgroups of students at the elementary grade level. For instance, two-year percentile increases among African-American students scoring proficient/advanced outpaced district increases as a whole. MSA data released today by the state also showed BCPS elementary student performance exceeding state averages. The percentage of BCPS elementary students scoring proficient or advanced in reading rose from 90.3 percent in 2011 to 90.7 percent in 2012, compared with 88.2 percent statewide. In mathematics, the percentage of BCPS elementary students scoring proficient or advanced rose 2 percentage points from last year -- 88.8 percent in 2011 to 90.8 percent in 2012. That compares with 87.7 percent of students across Maryland reaching proficiency. “We have a lot to celebrate in Baltimore County," said Superintendent S. Dallas Dance. “Our overall student performance continues to be strong, and when we examine subgroup performance we see healthy growth in the percentage of students scoring at proficient and advanced levels." Baltimore County benchmarks its performance to state and other county results in its effort to become the premier Maryland district. This year, Baltimore County outperformed Montgomery County in the percent of elementary students scoring proficient or advanced in mathematics by 1.2 percentage points. Baltimore County lags Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery counties in elementary school reading and middle school mathematics and reading. Baltimore County’s middle school students also made gains on the 2012 MSA tests, improving in mathematics from 72.5 percent proficient or advanced in 2011 to 74.0 percent in 2012. In reading, BCPS middle school students moved from 82.9 percent proficient or advanced last year to 81.7 percent this year, consistent with middle school reading performance in all of Maryland. Dr. Dance said that while there is much good news in middle school scores, there is plenty of opportunity to improve. “We have made it a priority to focus on middle school academic performance in the coming year, and the MSA results underscore the importance of this task," he said. “The data in this year’s MSA report gives us a great opportunity to hone in on the areas we need to improve." This year under Maryland’s new accountability plan, instead of using the “No Child Left Behind" benchmark of Adequate Yearly Progress, schools will be measured by targets that are specific to each school and each subgroup (called Annual Measurable Objectives, or AMOs). As a result, each school’s performance will be measured against itself rather than against other schools, and AMOs will be unique for each school and each subgroup. By 2017, every school is expected to reduce its percentage of non-proficient students for each subgroup and among all students by 50 percent. In addition to reporting performance, participation, and attendance data for each school and subgroup, each school will receive a School Progress Index score. The Elementary and Middle School Progress Index score will include achievement (increasing student proficiency in math, reading and science), achievement gap reduction (reducing the gap between the highest and lowest performing subgroups), and growth (increasing individual student performance). The Maryland State Department of Education anticipates reporting out the School Index scores in late August. According to state figures, 84.8 percent of Maryland’s schools met AMO targets for 2012. In Baltimore County, 75.4 percent of elementary and middle schools met 2012 AMOs. One school, Rodgers Forge Elementary School, achieved 100 percent proficiency in all of its subgroups. The Maryland School Assessment is a mandatory assessment of reading and mathematics achievement that is administered in the spring of each year to students in grades 3 through 8. State, BCPS, and local school MSA data are available on the Maryland State Department of Education's report card website at www.mdreportcard.org.