Education Report Card Due Nov. 12

Writing Scores Fall Well Below State Goal

November 06, 1991|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

How Carroll educators evaluate student achievement on the state's second annual report card won't be known until Nov. 12.

But it's clear students made progress in some areas while falling short in others.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic is the drop in Carroll's writing scores, which fell from 95.7 percent to 85.3 percent, placing the district below the state-set goal of 90 percent.

"I would be interested to know what areas of writing fell," said Cindy Cummings, president of the Carroll County Education Association, which representsabout 1,300 teachers. "It's surprising we went down in writing when we have emphasized that so much."

The full results of the functional tests have not been released, although some appeared in The Sun earlier this week.

The Maryland Department of Education embargoed information about the report until its statewide public release Nov. 12. Carroll officials are honoring that request.

"We will not comment on the results," said Brian L. Lockard, assistant superintendent ofinstruction. "The staff is pretty much aware of how we did. The onlypiece we don't know is how we did in relation to other systems."

Carroll school staff will explain results and score changes at a newsconference 3:30 p.m. Nov. 12.

The tests were taken by ninth- and 11th-graders in each of the county's five high schools.

The results of 11th-grade test-takers will be included in the report for the first time. More information about results by schools and students alsowill be released.

Overall this year, Carroll ranked at the high end of the state's 24 school systems, failing to meet state standards of either satisfactory or excellent in two of 13 categories -- writing and secondary student attendance.

Last year, the district placedsecond only to the more affluent Howard County in the academic portion -- reading, writing, math and citizenship -- of the Maryland School Performance Program.

In addition to this year's decline in writing scores, there were slight drops in other categories. Reading scores among first-time test-takers fell from 96.5 percent to 96.4 percent, but Carroll retained its satisfactory rating. Citizenship scores dropped from 87.7 percent to 85.7 percent, but here again, the districtretained its satisfactory rating.

Students fared better in math and participation areas. Math scores, for example, rose from 79.3 percent to 83.8 percent, pushing Carroll above the state's satisfactory rating of 80 percent.

Scores in all student participation areas increased. The district achieved an excellent rating -- 99.7 percent, upfrom 99.4 percent -- in elementary promotion. Satisfactory ratings also were achieved in elementary student attendance, up to 95.2 percent from 95.1 percent, and in its dropout rate, down to 2.9 percent from 3.1 percent.

Although the attendance rate for secondary students, grades seven through 12, increased from 92.9 percent to 93.1 percent, the district failed to achieve a satisfactory rating, set at 94 percent.

"The results are not significantly different than what we previously experienced," said board member Joseph D. Mish Jr. "It's anongoing process -- something we have to work with. We need to continue to improve. It's going to involve the total student community."

Mish, a former teacher, said he was disappointed in Carroll's performance in comparison with Frederick and Howard counties, the two the county is most likely to be compared against. Students in both counties achieved satisfactory or excellent scores in all academic areas.

"Other counties spend much more than we do," said school board member Ann M. Ballard. "I'm so proud of our system. We do amazingly well with the resources we have."

In 1990, the first year of the report,Howard spent $5,549 per pupil, while Carroll spent $4,320. Carroll ranked 16th in the state in per pupil expenditures in 1990.

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