Report card results are mixed for Maryland Math skills low, but test scores gain

October 01, 1991|By Gelareh Asayesh

In yesterday's editions, The Sun incorrectly reported that Maryland fell below the national average in the National Assessment of Educational Progress' 1990 math examination. In fact, 17 percent of Maryland public school eighth-graders met the national standard, compared with 15.5 percent nationally.

The information was derived from the national report card issued Monday by the National Education Goals Panel. The national information in the report card represented mathematics test results for both private and public students, while the state results in the report card represented only public school students.

The Sun regrets the error.

How is Maryland doing in meeting the nation's six education goals -- the goals that are supposed to make America's schools world-class?


It's difficult to say, state and federal officials acknowledged yesterday.

That's not unique to Maryland. The U.S.' first-ever education report card was released yesterday, but the state-by-state portion of the 246-page report includes constant repetition of the phrase: "No comparable state data currently available."

In trying to build a picture of U.S. education from existing statistical sources, members of the National Education Goals Panel found that state data was one of many missing pieces.

The report card offered only gleanings for Maryland -- with a mixed message. For example, the state was slightly below the national average in the National Assessment of Educational Progress' 1990 math examination. Only 17 percent of eighth-graders in Maryland public schools met the panel's standards for competence in mathematics on the test, compared with 18 percent nationally.

But Maryland was well above the national average in terms of high school students earning college credit. For every 1,000 11th- and 12th-graders in Maryland, 105 took advanced placement exams and 68.5 percent of those taking the exams qualified for college credit. In the country, 70 per thousand took the exams and about 60 percent of those qualified for college credit.

The National Education Goals Panel is charged with pursuing the national goals established a year ago by President Bush and the nation's governors. One of its challenges will be encouraging states and agencies to begin compiling comparable data measuring progress on the six goals, said Pascal D. Forgione, Jr., executive director of the panel.

"It's incomplete," Mr. Forgione acknowledged. "As you can see there are an awful lot of gaps and not a lot of information."

The panel concluded that though there has been progress in some areas nationally, U.S. public school students fall far short of world-class performance.

State school Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick said at a news conference with Gov. William Donald Schaefer yesterday that Maryland is ahead of the nation in making progress toward the goals.

Ms. Grasmick pointed to efforts such as Maryland's adoption of a new accountability program, in which annual state report cards measure progress toward ambitious goals. The second state report card is due Nov. 12. "We certainly can give evidence of movement on each one of the goals," she said.

David W. Hornbeck, an educational consultant and former Maryland school superintendent who worked on the national report card, agreed that Maryland students are probably ahead of the game. Mr. Hornbeck pointed out that Maryland students score above the national average on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, for example.

"I think it's fair to say that Maryland kids are doing better than most," Mr. Hornbeck said. "But given what we need to do it is largely meaningless. . . . It's a relative kind of thing. Everybody was doing badly in my judgment."

Mr. Hornbeck said that the report card highlights another kind of shortcoming in U.S. education: inadequate data collection. "One the big problems that this reveals, and frankly is outrageous, is that we don't have available information that will permit us to know how we are doing on a state-by-state basis."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.