Young city pupils' test rankings rise

Showing improves in first, second grades

June 13, 2006|By SARA NEUFELD | SARA NEUFELD,SUN REPORTER

FIRST — First- and second-graders in Baltimore public schools showed gains on a national test administered by the school system this spring, officials announced yesterday.

In reading, first-graders scored on average in the 46th percentile of the Stanford 10 standardized test, meaning they outscored 46 percent of children in a national sample. That's up from the 41st percentile last year. Second-graders scored in the 43rd percentile, up from the 41st last year.

Math scores were higher still. First-graders scored in the 53rd percentile, up from the 46th. Second-graders scored in the 48th percentile, up from the 44th.

"That's no small accomplishment with urban children," said Benjamin I. Feldman, the school system's research, evaluation and accountability officer.

City school officials say the Stanford test results show that educational reforms are helping younger children.

But another test, the Maryland School Assessment, is used to judge students' progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The MSA is administered in grades three through 12. MSA scores are expected to be released within the next week.

System officials announced the Stanford scores yesterday at one of the top-performing schools, George Washington Elementary, where second-graders scored in the 93rd percentile on the math test.

The system's chief academic officer, Linda Chinnia, said elementary schools this school year had extensive professional development for teachers and focused on intervention for struggling readers, as well as gifted and talented education.

Though the system has used the same scripted reading program, Open Court, for several years in the early grades, schools did not always implement it as faithfully as they did this year, Chinnia said.

sara.neufeld@baltsun.com

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