The good news, scores up the bad news, not enough

November 17, 1992

Maryland public schools received slightly better grades on their third annual report card yesterday. But most still don't meet state standards for performance on math and citizenship tests, high school attendance and the dropout rate.

"As long as we do not have all of our students meeting the standards, I don't feel any sense of satisfaction," said Nancy S. Grasmick, the state school superintendent.

Two areas are of particular concern -- chronically poor math scores statewide and black males still lagging behind whites on the reading, writing, math and citizenship tests required to graduate, she said.

rTC The report card was created in 1990, after a gubernatorial panelcalled for standards to evaluate schools. Performance is measured against 13 standards, including attendance, dropout rates, promotion rates and performance on the four required tests.

Eventually, schools that fail to meet standards could face state sanctions, including the possibility of state takeover. Only Carroll and Howard counties met standards in all 13 areas this year. The report shows that, on average, public schools:

* Met state standards in seven of the 13 areas last year, up from five of 13 in 1991 and two of eight in 1990.

The most dramatic improvement came in the percentage of students passing the reading and writing tests the first time they take them in ninth grade. In reading, that number rose from 94.8 percent to 96 percent. In writing, it rose from 83.2 percent to 90 percent.

* Failed to meet the 94 percent attendance standard at the seventh through 12th grade levels, with an average attendance rate of 90.9 percent. Some 29,000 middle and high school students miss school each day.

* Fell short of the 3 percent maximum dropout rate standard, with an average dropout rate of 5.2 percent. That number was up from 4.3 percent, due to an increase in Baltimore City.

* Failed to meet the standard for number of ninth- and 11th-graders passing the state's mandatory math and citizenship tests.

But officials also note some improvements, including a drop in the number of students who missed a month or more of school.

For details on how local schools fared, see Page 1B.

MARYLAND FUNCTIONAL TEST RESULTS -- HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

First time takers. Percent passing.

READING

1990 ... 93.4%

1991*... 94.8%

1992 ... 96.0%

MATH 1990 ... 67.9%

1991*... 73.1%

1992 ... 73.0%

WRITING 1990 ... 88.4%

1991*... 83.2%

1992 ... 90.0%

CITZENSHIP 1990 ... 75.0%

1991*... 76.2%

1992 ... 79.2%

*Indicates baseline year data.

SOURCE: The State Department of Education

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