Release of 2012 MSA Results Reveal Steady Increases in Reading and Math Achievement
Continued elementary school reading and mathematics improvement was recorded on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in 2012, nearing or surpassing 90% proficiency on a countywide basis, according to data released today by Allegany County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. David Cox, and the Maryland State Department of Education. Steady improvement for middle school reading and mathematics scores was also noted over the past nine years.
According to the data, all elementary schools have met newly established targets. Looking at grade level results, the percentage of ACPS elementary students scoring at the proficient levels in grade three reading increased from 86.4% proficient in 2011 to 88.1% proficient in 2012, while math scores for third grade students increased from 86.3% proficient in 2011 to 89.9% proficient in 2012. Fourth grade students’ scores increased in reading from 89.4% last year to 92.5% this year. Math scores for these students remained steady with 93.1% of students scoring proficient as compared to 93.5% last year. The percent of fifth grade students scoring at the proficient level in reading rose from 90.7% last year to 91.8% this year as did math scores, which rose from 84.4% proficient to 88.7% proficient.
Middle schools also showed increases in the percentage of students scoring proficient or higher on the 2012 MSA and meeting newly established targets. Sixth grade students increased reading scores to 83.4% proficient in 2012 as compared to 76.7% proficient in 2011. Math scores for sixth grade students also rose from 83.9% proficient to 87.9% proficient. Seventh and eighth grade reading scores have shown slight declines from 2011 to 2012 with seventh grade scores decreasing slightly from 81.1% proficient in 2011 to 77.8% proficient in 2012. Similarly, eighth grade reading scores fell slightly to 77.3% proficient in 2012 from 78.9% proficient. Math scores, however, for these grades increased. Seventh grade math scores rose from 77.6% proficient in 2011 to 82.6% proficient in 2012, while eighth grade scores also rose from 65.6% proficient to 71.1% proficient in 2012. State level results for middle school students also indicate slight decreases in reading scores while math scores rose.
Today’s data release marks the first under Maryland’s recently granted flexibility regarding the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Under the NCLB law, all students must be scoring at proficient levels by 2014, and progress toward that goal was gauged by a statewide measurement known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Under Maryland’s new “School Progress” plan, each school is measured against its own targets and must work to strengthen achievement across all subgroups.
This year’s data begins a new baseline, and schools and systems will work to cut in half over the next six years, by 2017, the percentage of students not scoring at proficient levels on the MSAs. As in the past, the accountability system measures all students as well as racial subgroups and groups of students receiving additional services (i.e. special education, English language learners and free and reduced meals students). Schools and systems must work to hit improvement targets known as annual measureable objectives (AMOs). AMOs will be calculated for the students in each school as well as for subgroups.
School Improvement is no longer a sanction for schools not achieving AYP. Maryland’s new plan focuses special attention on schools with the most difficulty, but the requirement for restructuring and other sanctions is no longer part of the equation. Under the School Progress calculation, 88.9% of Allegany County Public Schools met the AMO targets for achievement for this baseline year. The targets will continue to rise through 2017.
Allegany County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. David Cox, said of this of the MSA results, “I am very proud of the fact that our students’ performance has continued to increase since 2003. This is due in large part to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, principals, and central office staff.” He went on to say, “I am pleased that Maryland has been granted a waiver from the NCLB Adequate Yearly Progress requirements that were unrealistic. Our commitment is to continuously improve what we do each and every day for all children.”
The scores released by the Maryland State Department of Education are available for viewing at www.mdreportcard.org. As more data is released, including high school assessment results, additional options for viewing will become available. MSA results will be sent to parents this summer with additional reports being sent home at the beginning of 2012-2013 school year.