Schools Receive Mostly High Grades On '91 Report Card

9 News Story

January 05, 1992|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff writer

What worries Carroll educators like Brian L. Lockard most about waveafter wave of state budget cuts is dwindling money for teacher instruction related to the Maryland School Performance Program.

Although Carroll fared well in the most recent report card -- placing third among the state's 24 school systems -- Lockard, assistant superintendent of instruction, said additional money is needed to sustain improvement.

For the most part, improvement is what Carroll educators saw in the report card released in November. Students scored "satisfactory" or "excellent' ratings in 11 of the 13 areas of the MSPP, which evaluates each district against academic and pupil participation criteria.

Carroll achieved the state's "satisfactory" or "excellent" standards in all but writing and secondary school attendance.

Satisfactory scores were achieved among first-time test-takers in reading, math and citizenship; in math and citizenship scores among juniors; and inelementary attendance and dropout rates. Excellent scores were attained in reading, writing and "passing all tests" among juniors.

Thedrop in writing scores -- 10.4 percent from the 1990 report card -- mirrored a decline in scores among first-time test-takers across the state. Carroll educators, pledging to focus on improving writing overthe next year, conceded they may have placed "inflated confidence" in past success.

This year's report card was broadened from eight to 13 categories. School districts are reporting the outcomes of testsgiven to high school juniors in reading, math, writing and citizenship.

Included in the state's annual release last fall was a breakdown of performance by schools. Although the breakdown is likely to prompt comparisons among schools, school officials said the results are not important. What is important, they said, is the comparisons between the results achieved this year and last.

Future reports will indicate each system's year-by-year progress toward achievement standards. In addition, results of the state's criterion-referenced tests, given to third-, fifth- and eighth-grade students last year, will be released in the November 1992 report. Students were tested in reading,math, writing and language usage, social studies and science.

Superintendent R. Edward Shilling has stressed that programs need to be put in place to teach higher-level thinking skills that will be measured by criterion-referenced tests.

Like Lockard, Shilling has expressed concerns that present levels of financing are insufficient to provide these programs and that student performance will be affected.

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