Educators `gratified' by pupils' rising assessment scores

Most grades see improvement

some middle-schoolers falter

Harford County

Maryland School Assessment

June 08, 2005|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,SUN STAFF

Harford County pupils scored above the state average on all 12 of Maryland's math and reading tests, in many instances outperforming pupils in higher-profile counties such as Montgomery.

The percentage of pupils who passed the exams also improved from last year in all grades and racial and ethnic groups, school officials said.

But there remained room for improvement: At Aberdeen, Edgewood and Magnolia middle schools, more than two-thirds of eighth-graders failed the math test. More than 40 percent of those schools' eighth-graders failed the reading test.

Those schools have some of the county's highest rates of pupils who receive free or reduced-price meals because they come from low-income households.

`Every single person'

Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas said she was thrilled with Harford's overall scores but will not be satisfied until all students pass the tests.

"Part of the rationale behind the federal program and Maryland's program is not to hide behind the averages," Haas said. "There's considerable pressure to be successful with every single person."

Mostly the news was good. In 10 elementary schools, at least 80 percent of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders passed the standardized tests. Some of the biggest gains were made on the fourth-grade reading test: 88.6 percent of pupils passed, a 6.5 percent increase from last year.

Showing progress

At the middle-school level, the percentage of pupils who passed the sixth-grade math and seventh-grade reading exams each rose by 5.9 percent.

The state requires schools to improve at a certain pace. Later this month, after officials finish analyzing yesterday's data, the state will determine which schools achieved the required improvement.

Some improvements were negligible. The percentage of pupils who passed the seventh-grade math test rose by less than 1 percent, and for the fifth-grade math tests, the percentage increase was just over 1 percent.

"We send a very clear message in our school improvement process: You may be above the state [average] but you still have to be showing an improvement on an annual basis," said Haas, who said she did not have time yesterday to study the scores thoroughly.

Bakerfield Elementary

Some of the biggest improvements took place at Bakerfield Elementary, an Aberdeen school where half of the pupils received free or reduced-price meals in 2004.

Almost 86 percent of fourth-graders passed the math test, a 16 percent increase from last year; nearly 90 percent of fourth-graders passed the reading test, an almost 20 percent increase.

Beginning in October, Principal Joseph Stevens began holding monthly meetings with teachers to discuss how pupils were preparing for the tests.

"We'd sit down, look at some of the students' scores, talk about where they are and how we could help them improve," Stevens said. "We're sort of fine-tuning those kinds of strategies. ... Obviously we're very pleased and gratified with the scores that we had."

Harford Elementary

This table shows the total percentage of Harford County elementary school pupils who scored at advanced or proficient levels in tests administered as part of the Maryland School Assessment.

THIRD GRADE FOURTH GRADE FIFTH GRADE

Reading Math Reading Math Reading Math

'05 '04 '03 '05 '04 '03 '05 '04 '05 '04 '05 '04 '03 '05 '04 '03

Harford Schools 82.0 79.6 70.0 83.8 81.1 75.5 88.6 82.1 83.4 79.1 82.0 78.6 78.5 75.6 74.5 63.8

Abingdon 76.1 77.6 75.4 79.0 85.0 78.9 89.7 89.7 83.9 81.3 86.3 84.1 85.8 83.2 80.6 70.8

Bakerfield 81.0 83.8 52.4 88.6 85.2 64.3 89.7 69.8 85.9 69.9 81.6 78.9 74.2 69.0 71.1 62.3

Bel Air 81.8 89.4 75.2 85.7 84.1 82.4 94.0 92.5 89.3 89.3 91.5 86.9 89.8 84.1 69.7 75.0

Church Creek 76.1 76.6 70.8 79.7 75.7 81.4 88.7 84.3 81.7 78.5 75.2 71.9 63.6 70.9 60.6 52.6

Churchville 83.1 77.5 79.4 85.7 73.9 79.4 94.5 92.4 88.9 71.2 84.7 82.6 81.3 76.7 71.0 61.0

Darlington 95.5 79.2 75.0 72.7 79.1 60.0 85.2 80.0 85.1 65.0 77.3 69.0 85.0 81.8 75.9 45.0

Deerfield 68.5 64.0 50.9 67.9 69.0 63.0 82.8 75.8 72.1 71.2 65.3 61.9 60.5 60.6 55.0 51.9

Dublin 86.1 73.2 58.7 88.9 73.2 67.4 93.1 78.7 81.4 72.3 73.5 68.2 75.0 60.4 68.1 50.0

Edgewood 77.2 72.5 52.7 87.9 82.6 63.5 89.7 70.0 73.5 72.9 67.6 61.9 68.0 70.1 64.1 50.7

Emmorton 91.7 85.9 83.1 91.8 88.9 89.0 92.3 86.5 87.5 86.4 90.9 82.9 83.8 89.2 83.0 59.0

Forest Hill 84.2 90.3 79.0 93.0 92.4 89.5 97.0 96.5 95.9 94.7 93.6 83.7 80.0 90.1 90.2 77.4

Forest Lakes 92.4 79.6 82.4 94.1 87.6 87.4 94.0 85.7 88.2 89.9 94.7 83.9 92.7 88.6 85.6 69.9

Fountain Green 96.8 90.9 82.3 93.6 87.6 91.2 94.8 91.6 90.6 91.6 91.8 83.4 90.6 94.1 89.0 74.6

G. Lisby/Hillsdale 71.4 56.7 57.3 67.3 59.7 63.3 79.1 72.2 70.2 72.3 81.2 75.8 78.6 75.4 72.6 59.0

Halls Cross Roads 65.1 70.2 46.9 69.8 83.0 63.8 73.3 55.3 67.9 60.5 68.9 61.9 59.4 62.2 56.4 42.4

Havre de Grace 59.4 59.5 51.1 65.2 59.5 58.5 81.1 74.4 66.2 57.3 69.7 75.0 66.7 55.3 71.4 52.0

Hickory 94.2 88.7 71.7 92.2 88.6 81.8 90.3 82.6 84.3 83.6 79.4 81.9 81.3 82.2 82.7 67.0

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