Getting the right answers Carroll County: Ten schools honored for improved student scores on statewide tests.

December 05, 1996

MORE GOOD NEWS for Carroll County schools: 10 elementary and middle schools were cited for improved scores on the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program tests.

Six of those schools received cash awards from the state Department of Education for "substantial and meaningful" improvement in performance during the past two school years.

This is the first year for the statewide recognition program, which aims to reinforce achievement in the MSPAP testing initiated a half-dozen years ago to develop students' skills in solving real-life problems. The program has grown throughout Maryland to cover annual testing of students in the third, fifth and eighth grades.

The six Carroll schools receiving state grants, ranging from $21,000 to nearly $39,000, were judged on test scores and on other factors, such as attendance, that are measured in the state's annual "report card." The amounts were determined by enrollment figures; larger schools got more.

Overall, Carroll County schools ranked third in the state last year on the MSPAP testing, so the recognition was not unexpected. But the awards recognized improvement in test scores by schools, not just beating the state averages. That is a confirmation of continuing efforts by teachers, pupils and parents to raise the level of achievement and to hone the thinking skills that are key to learning.

It shows that, despite the representations of some, just spending more money on education does not guarantee learning improvements. Carroll continues to rank in the bottom quarter of Maryland public school systems on per-pupil expenditures, while producing admirable academic results.

One county school, Sandymount Elementary in Finksburg, has gotten a double share of bouquets from the state this fall. It received a $25,000 grant for the MSPAP achievements. And Sandymount is also one of 11 state Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, chosen for its student and teaching environment, curriculum, parent and community support, as well as pupil performance. Carroll County can take pride in these schools' achievements -- examples that can encourage similar successes in other county schools in the future.

Pub Date: 12/05/96

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