Similar To Maryland, Garrett County MSA Scores Fall Back Slightly

Last Updated on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:46pm |

Test is Not Aligned to New Standards

Oakland, MD - On Tuesday, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) released system level 2013 results regarding Maryland School Assessments (MSA).  In conjunction, the Garrett County Public Schools is proud to announce that a significant number of students in the elementary and middle schools achieved scores at the proficient and advanced levels in reading and mathematics on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) and Alternate Maryland School Assessment (ALT-MSA). 

The state has reported that MSA scores at the elementary and/or middle school levels in reading and math took a slight step back in 2013.  Garrett County scores have followed the same trend at each level and subject as that of the state. The results speak directly to the important changes that have been taking place in Maryland public schools, and those across the nation.  There are several reasons for the drop in test scores.  1)  Although Maryland public schools have been transitioning to the Common Core State Standards for the past two years, the State is required by federal law known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to administer the MSA exams, which are not aligned to the new learning standards.  New exams will be rolled out in the 2014-15 school year.  The Common Core State Standards are being implemented in Maryland counties with full fidelity.  The new curriculum increases rigor and teaches at a higher bar than the previous curriculum used for MSA testing.  2)  Therefore, there is a misalignment between the Common Core State Standards and the MSA assessment. Some concepts are assessed on the MSA that are not taught in the Common Core curriculum or at different grade levels.  3)  MOD-MSA (Modified MSA) testing was not provided this year for some special education students. Thus, the students took the regular MSA tests.  4)  With the financial crunch, locally, there have been a significant number of instructional positions lost in the schools over the past several years which translates into a loss of resources and interventions for students, as well as larger class sizes resulting from the closing of 3 elementary schools.

“Just like every other Maryland county and in most states nationally, Garrett County is in the process of adjusting its curriculum and instruction to meet the demands of the Common Core Curriculum and the PARCC assessments which will be administered as a pilot as early as 2013-2014,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Janet S. Wilson.  “With a local focus on school closures during 2011-2012 while the rest of Maryland was attentive to developing and implementing a transition path to the new curriculum, our schools’ and central office staff had to make great strides with curriculum and instructional changes during 2012-2013.  The teamwork between our schools was phenomenal,” said Wilson. “The recent cuts in programs and services, such as reading intervention services, create challenges for us as we prepare students for rigorous classroom performance,” Wilson added.

Overall in Garrett County, the elementary grades had 84.9% (State:  86.4%) of the students scoring at proficient/advanced in reading. This is a drop of 5.7 percentage points from 2012. In looking at the overall picture since the inception of MSA Reading in 2003, the elementary grades have improved greatly in which 59.0% of the students scored at the proficient/advanced levels.  In middle school reading, 88.0% (State:  83.4%) of the students achieved the proficient/advanced mark.  This is actually an increase of 0.3 percent points since 2012 and a significant increase from 62.5% in 2003.

In math, the elementary grades in Garrett County had 81.4% (State: 83.9%) of the students scoring at proficient/advanced in math.  This is down 5.0 percentage points from 2012 but a considerable increase from 57.8% in 2003.  In middle school, 79.7% (State:  72.2%) of the students achieved the math proficient/advanced level in 2013.  This is down 3.6 percentage points from 2012 but a major increase from 41.4% in 2003. 

Included in the percentages above, Garrett County had 26 students participating in the ALT-MSA (Alternate Maryland School Assessment) with 96.2% in reading and 92.3% in math scoring at the proficient/advanced levels.

Garrett County results below are expressed as the percentage of students that scored at or above the proficiency level comparing 2013 to 2012 data and the inception of MSA in 2003/04:

 

                                    2013   2012    2003/*04                     2013  2012   2003/*04

 Grade 3:  Reading -     77.1     85.6      53.0           Math -     80.9    83.7      65.4

 Grade 4:  Reading -      89.7    94.8      78.5*          Math -     85.4    91.0     75.4*

 Grade 5:  Reading -      87.8    92.0      64.7            Math -     77.5    84.8     50.4

 Grade 6:  Reading -      90.2    87.9      69.7*          Math -     77.9    84.0     49.6*

 Grade 7:  Reading -      89.5    86.2      72.4*          Math -     85.9    86.1     54.5*

Grade 8:  Reading -      84.5    89.1      62.5            Math -     75.2    79.7     41.4

 

For more information concerning MSA, log on to the Maryland Report Card site at www.mdreportcard.org .