MSA Results in Grades 4, 6, 7 Show High Proficiency

September 17, 2004
Systemwide results of the 2004 administration of the Maryland State Assessment (MSA) in reading and mathematics in Grades 4, 6 and 7 show high percentages of students achieving at or above the standard for proficiency.

The 2004 administration of this test was the first ever. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) recently released proficiency results for the Grades 4, 6 and 7 assessment, plus geometry and updated Adequate Yearly Progress determinations.

More than 80 percent of Grade 4 students performed at or above proficiency in reading and mathematics, while students in Grades 6 and 7 performed at levels close to 80 percent in reading. The performance of students in Grades 6 and 7 was above the 60 percent proficiency in both reading and mathematics.

To meet federal requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, states must offer a mathematics assessment at the high school level. Maryland uses the MSA in geometry to fulfill this requirement. Results are included with results from the MSA in mathematics in Grades 3-8 to calculate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations in mathematics for school systems. In 2004, the percentage of students at or above the proficiency standard in geometry rose by 1.4 percent countywide, to 62.1 percent.

Performance by racial and ethnic student subgroups, particularly in mathematics at the middle school level, reflects substantial differences. While the percentage of Grade 4 students at the proficient level in math is generally above 60 percent for all racial/ethnic groups, the percentage of students in Grades 6 and 7 at proficient is at the 30-40 percent level among African American and Hispanic students in this subject area.

MSDE released results for Grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 last June. More than 72 percent of all students in Grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 scored at or above the state's proficiency level in reading. In math, students in Grades 3 and 5 and 59 percent of students in Grade 8 scored at or above the state's proficiency requirement.

Changes in AYP decisions

Earlier reports on AYP status were preliminary. The new reports reflect final AYP decisions, pending any further appeals. After reviewing appeals of the preliminary data, MSDE removed Col. Zadok Magruder High School and Montgomery Village Middle School from Alert Status. When attendance decisions were reviewed, MSDE added White Oak Middle School to Alert Status based on the special education subgroup for reading. White Oak Middle School previously had been granted Safe Harbor status for this subgroup.

Two additional high schools and one special school also were added to School Improvement Year 1. Gaithersburg High School did not meet AYP for Limited English Proficient students in reading, Montgomery Blair High School did not meet AYP for Hispanic students in geometry and Rock Terrace did not meet AYP because of graduation rate.
Schools will be allowed to appeal these AYP decisions, and staff members from the Department of Shared Accountability will work with school staff to determine if there is a basis for appeal. Appeals are due by September 26.

More details on school-by-school performance will be provided in a report to be issued later this month by the Department of Shared Accountability.

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