Baltimore Co. in top third statewide

November 17, 1992|By Mary Maushard | Mary Maushard,Staff Writer

Baltimore County schools met all but two of the performance criteria measured by the Maryland School Performance Program for the 1991-1992 school year, putting it among the top one-third of the state's school systems.

The county received excellent ratings in four areas -- the elementary school promotion rate, the percentage passing state functional reading tests in grades nine and 11, and the percentage of students passing the functional writing test in grade 11.

The county did not measure up to state attendance standards in grades seven through 12 and narrowly missed the mark in the percentage of ninth-grade students passing the functional test for citizenship.

"Baltimore County did very well, and that's through the efforts of lots and lots of dedicated people," said Superintendent Stuart Berger during a news conference announcing the results. "I'm very pleased with what Baltimore County has done. I'm very supportive of the concept [of performance standards]," he said.

Attendance for grades seven to 12 was 93.1 percent, up from 92.7 percent last year. Ninety-six percent attendance is considered satisfactory; 98 percent excellent. Only 84.7 percent of students passed the citizenship test the first time they took it. However, 97 percent eventually passed it.

The county got satisfactory ratings in the other seven indicators: the annual drop-out rate, attendance in grades one through six, the percentage passing the functional mathematics and writing tests in ninth grade, the percentage passing mathematics and citizenship, and the pass rate for all the tests in 11th grade.

Last year the county received excellent ratings for seven criteria, satisfactory ratings for three and unsatisfactory for the remaining three -- the percentage of ninth graders passing the writing and citizenship functional tests and attendance for older students.

Dr. Berger questioned whether attendance should be measured as an end rather than a means to an end. He pointed out the results for Pikesville High School, which received 12 excellent ratings, including a drop-out rate of less than 1 percent. No other county high school did as well.

Pikesville did, however, have an unsatisfactory attendance record, at 90.5 percent. That, he said, was the result of a high proportion of Jewish students, who must take time off from school to observe religious holidays.

Fifteen more of the county's 21 high schools did not meet the attendance criteria.

The report also includes a county breakdown of scores in the comprehensive tests of basic skills in reading, mathematics and language of students in the third, fifth and eighth grades.

County students ranked well above the state average in all subjects and at all grade levels. For instance, third-graders statewide scored in the 54th percentile of students who took the test nationally. Baltimore County students scored in the 59th percentile.

That means county students scored as well as or better than 59 percent of those who took the test.

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