MCPS Students' Scores Strong on MSA Under New Accountability System

Maryland School Assessments (MSA) data from 2012 will serve as starting point for revised accountability requirements, replacing the Adequate Yearly Progress system, officials say.

Montgomery County officials say they are pleased with students’ performance on the Maryland State Assessment (MSA) this year, results of which show improvement in math scores but a slight drop in reading.   

“MCPS students continue to perform extremely well on the MSA, outscoring their peers across the state overall and in specific subgroups,” said Dana Tofig, a spokesperson for the county’s public schools.  

Data from the Maryland Report Card showed county elementary schools moved up 1 percentage point from 2011, with 89.7 percent scoring proficient or above; middle schools moved up 1.6 points from last year, with 81.2 percent proficiency.

Both scored higher than the state proficiency rates of 87.7 percent for elementary and 76.2 percent for middle schools.

However, reading scores declined slightly from last year, though both elementary and middle schools scored higher than the state proficiency rates of 88.2 percent and 82.1 percent, respectively.

Elementary school students scored 91.7 percent proficient or higher this year, compared to 91.8 percent proficiency rate last year. Middle school students scored 88.9 percent proficiency this year, down just under 1 percent from 2011.

Tofig said the county is happy with students’ performance on the test, but added that “test data is only one indicator of a school’s success and should be used as a part of a conversation about how to improve teaching and learning for all students.”

MSA results from the previous year showed that several of the 24 schools identified for improvement in 2011 had not met adequate yearly progress (AYP) since 2008 or earlier, including Germantown’s Capt. James Daly Elementary and Neelsville Middle School, Gaithersburg Middle School and Forest Oak Middle School. 

Previously, failure of schools to meet AYP for three consecutive years resulted in required corrective action, including school and staff restructuring. However, in May, Maryland was granted flexibility from some of the requirements under No Child Left Behind, according to the state department of education

In total, 26 states have been granted flexibility, while 12 states, including Washington, DC, still await approval, according to the U.S. Department of Education. 

As part of No Child Left Behind, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) required that all students pass standardized tests by 2014, but the flexibility plan allows Maryland to reset the annual progress goals to 2017—at which point each school should have reduced its percentage of non-proficient students by half, according to the state.

Maryland’s new accountability system, which will replace the AYP formula that has been used since 2001, takes into account growth, gap reduction and college readiness, according to the Maryland Report Card, in order to more accurately determine a school’s progress. 

Joshua Starr, Montgomery County Public Schools' superintendent, said in a statement that he feels too much emphasis is currently placed on standardized testing, even with the new plan. 

“If we are serious about wanting to improve education for all students, we must develop more accurate ways of measuring the quality of instruction and the engagement of students,” he said. “If we continue to base our education reform efforts on standardized tests, we are doing a tremendous disservice to our students, teachers and our entire public school system.” 


macadoodle July 17, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Smoke and mirrors. The old shell game. The spin makes one's head swim. No wonder that the USA languishes at 23rd place among the nations of the world, 1 point above Bangladesh in knowledge of science and mathematics and other disciplines. Self-esteem cannot and will not supplant knowledge and knowledge is gained only by tough standards and hard work which MoCo wants to do away with as the mumbo-jumbo comments above demonstrate. My kids had to go to private school to learn to read, write, and do math while MoCo was bragging to anyone who would listen that they had the best school system anywhere. Sad.
Online addict July 18, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Our old babysitter is a Whitman Grad, who just graduated near the top of her class in Chem. Engineering from an elite school. Trust me her reading and math scores were more advanced than you could fathom. Judging Montgomery County in the same vein as the total US is quite a silly comparison. The US market is too diverse to designate siginificant average numbers, which vary vastly from State to State. You are aware that private school teachers do not need to be certified? Also, private schools can choose not to accept special needs children. And you are obviously not aware that those with special needs are the true focus of No Child Left Behind, and it is the Public Schools which take it upon themselves to give these children a quality education, yet suffer the consequences when average grades are lowered because of those with Special Needs. And yet, it is the administration and teachers at the elementary through high school level that embrace these children. And the end result, a win-win situation becuase your public school kids learn to love and cherish their special needs classmates and their classmates are mainstreamed and ready to face the real world! What is the percentage of special needs students counted in the Chinese system? The German system? Dig a little deeper Macadoodle, learn that comparing apples to oranges can give you some dicey results!
macadoodle July 21, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Both of us are guilty of anecdotal evidence, mine negative and yours, more positive. And yes, I should not have, in answer to your criticism, used a national ranking of U.S. poor academic performance and superimpose it on Montgomery County. But I stick to my guns in believing that the Mont County school system is vastly overrated and can only use my experience and the input of neighbors and friends in coming to that conclusion. We moved to Mont County in the '60s in part because of what we believed was a superior school system. By the time our kids entered school, the County was in the midst of the open classroom experiment which resulted in the '70s with a backlash from parents whose children were in pass/fail situations which prevented many from acceptance to Ivy League schools as well as UofMD. My kids attended private schools, elementary through high school (thanks to belt-tightening). Certified or not, their teachers at Town & Country, Grace Episcopal, Good Counsel and St. John's Military School were excellent plus closely working with the parents. To this day, my sons are thankful for the education and preparation for life that they were able to enjoy.
macadoodle July 25, 2012 at 01:43 PM


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