MCPS Students Continue to Make Gains on State Assessments

August 27, 2019

Data released by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) show that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students continue to make gains in performance and continue to outperform their peers across the state on the English Language Arts/Literacy and mathematics state assessments.

Student performance in English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy Grades 3-5 showed continued gains over the last two years where MCPS students also outperformed the state. More than 52 percent of students in Grades 3-5 scored at a performance level (PL) of 4 and 5, posting a 4.2 percentage point increase since 2016.  Fifty-four percent of students in Grades 6-8 scored at a performance level of 4 and 5.

"These state assessments are just one of several important measures that help us monitor student progress and achievement,” says MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith. “We are pleased to see continued gains in student participation and performance. However, we know more must be done to address areas where we are seeing decreases in performance and ensure all students have the access, opportunity and intentional instruction they need to be successful."

Student performance in mathematics Grades 3-5 showed an improvement from last year where 51.0 percent of students scored at a performance level of 4 or 5, outperforming their state peers by 11.7 percentage points (39.3). Students in mathematics Grades 6-8 showed a decrease of 5.6 points from 2016, with 31.9 percent of students scoring at a performance level of 4 and 5 (24.8 state average).

Although mathematics Grades 6-8 results were mixed, middle school Algebra 1 participation increased as more students were given access to the Algebra 1 course before high school.

Middle school Algebra 1 state assessment participation reached a historic high in 2019 as the number of  students earning valid scores climbed to 11,334, a 72.2 percent increase (4,753 more valid scores) over the number of valid scores in 2015. Increases in the numbers of Algebra 1 participants were greatest in Grade 8, particularly among Black or African American and Hispanic students, students who received English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services, Free and Reduced-price Meals Systems (FARMS) services, and students who received special education services.

2019 was the third year that students needed to meet a passing minimum score to meet the Maryland High School Assessment graduation requirement for Algebra 1 and ELA/Literacy 10.  Of the students who took ELA/Literacy 10 during the spring administration, 76.7 percent met the graduation requirement, while 71.4 percent of middle school students and 36.0 percent of high school students who took Algebra 1 met the graduation requirement.

The ELA/Literacy and mathematics state assessments are one of the ways MCPS measures student progress and success.

The 2018-2019 school year was the final year that state assessments utilized materials developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career.  Beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, students will be assessed under the new Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP).  The MCAP assessments will focus on the same academic content standards in English/Language Arts and Math as previous years, but with new items developed by Maryland educators. These assessments are designed to provide students, parents, and teachers with an understanding of student progress toward graduation and workforce readiness.


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