1999 Maryland School Performance Assessment Program Results: Eighth Grade Makes Progress on MSPAP but Overall County Scores Drop Slightly, Placing MCPS Fifth Among State Systems

December 1, 1999
Despite progress among eighth graders, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) dropped from fourth to fifth place in the rankings of school districts on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP) for 1999.

The composite scores for eighth grade students actually increased by two percentage points, but the results in the other two grades declined by a larger amount, reducing the overall composite score from 55.2 to 54.8 and lowering the school system's comparative ranking. The test data were released today by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

"These results reflect a similar lack of progress experienced last year in the county's Criterion-Referenced Tests (CRTs) in reading and mathematics," said Superintendent Jerry D. Weast in a report to the Board of Education. "The MSPAP data provide another example of the need to align the school system's resources in a very focused way to support acceleration of student achievement."

Since its first administration in 1993, the MSPAP has measured the performance of elementary and middle schools in reading, writing, language usage, mathematics, science, and social studies. Overall, the composite score for MCPS is higher now than in 1993, but the gain has not been particularly noteworthy just 8.4 percentage points, the third smallest increase among school districts in the state.

MCPS remains the highest performing large school district in Maryland with a composite score of 54.8 percent, but four other districts surpassed this mark: Kent County (60.0 percent), Howard County (59.3 percent), Harford County (56.3 percent), and Carroll County (55.4 percent). The state standard for satisfactory is 70 percent.

Compared to 1998, the MCPS composite score for third grade students declined by 2.6 percentage points to 51.6 percent. Grade 5 results declined by 0.3 percentage points to a score of 57 percent. The only increase occurred among eighth grade students with a score of 55.9 percent, a gain of 2 percentage points.

There was no change in the disparity by race and ethnicity. On average, African American and Hispanic students both had a composite score of approximately 34 percent compared to a composite score of approximately 65 percent for both White and Asian American students.

Kensington-Parkwood Elementary School achieved the distinction of having 100 percent of students perform at the satisfactory level in third grade mathematics (29.5 percent at excellent), the only school in the state to achieve 100 percent in any MSPAP category.

Two schools Darnestown Elementary and Cold Spring Elementary achieved the state's excellent standard in all subject areas for Grade 5.

Bells Mill Elementary School had the state's highest fifth grade scores in language usage (95.6 percent at satisfactory), science (94.6 percent), and writing (85.1 percent). Somerset Elementary School reached the excellent standard in third grade language usage (79.2 percent at excellent), writing (60.0 percent), and mathematics (53.1 percent).

Thirty schools, including three middle schools, met the state satisfactory standard of 70 percent. Two of these schools, Somerset and Burning Tree elementary schools, have met the 70 percent state standard in all years since 1993.

Of the 141 MCPS schools that have composite scores since 1993, 117 or 83 percent have shown gains.

The largest gains since 1993 among these schools were at John T. Baker Middle School (29.4 percentage points), Cedar Grove Elementary School (27.2 percentage points), Julius West Middle School (24.2 percentage points), Glenallan Elementary School (22.8 percentage points), and Bannockburn Elementary School (22.7 percentage points). The remaining 24 schools have shown declines on their composite scores ranging from 0.3 to 15.4 percentage points. The largest declines since 1993 are at Strathmore Elementary School (15.4 percentage points), Brown Station Elementary School (13.1 percentage points), Lake Seneca Elementary School (12.5 percentage points), Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School (9.5 percentage points), and Galway Elementary School (8.4 percentage points).

The state has reported MSPAP results for special education students for the second time to meet federal mandates. Special education results are reported for the state and each county. The number of special education students in each school is too small to report reliable data at that level. The 1999 composite score for MCPS special education students was 36.0, virtually the same as 1998 (35.9 percentage points).


A detailed website of school-by-school report of MSPAP results can be found at the web site below.

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