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Excellent HSA & SAT Results for WCPS; Class of 2009 Performs Well on HSA as Graduation Requirement

Excellent HSA & SAT Results for WCPS; Class of 2009 Performs Well on HSA as Graduation Requirement

Hagerstown, MD (August 28, 2007)- The class of 2009 has made outstanding strides in taking and passing the High School Assessments (HSA), which are required for the first time for students in that class to graduate. Officials of the Washington County Public Schools are very pleased by the overall results of the 2007 HSA released today by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), and by the performance of last year's seniors on the SAT. SAT results are released by the College Board.
"This is a strong picture with increases across the board on both the HSA and the SAT," said Dr. Betty Morgan, Superintendent. "I am very proud of the students and staff for meeting and surpassing our expectations and goals. Results show the increased rigor in our curriculum and classrooms has led to higher achievement."
The percentage of students who have started their junior year and who have taken the HSA at least once is 92.1% in English, 89.1% in Algebra, 88.5% in Biology, and 87.7% in Government. Of the students who have taken the test, 97% in Algebra have met minimum requirements for graduation by either passing the test or achieving a minimum scale score that combines to achieve an overall passing score for all four assessments. Of test-takers, 94% have met minimum requirements in Biology, 89% in English, and 93.6% in Government.
Coordinator of Testing & Accountability, Robert Brown, says the focus is on the performance of last year's 10 th graders and below. "Because those students are facing these assessments as a graduation requirement it is important to separate their scores from the rest, and their scores are very solid."
"We're not resting on this set of improved numbers," according to Donna Hanlin, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Instruction. "We have been analyzing data, continuing to ensure proper alignment of the curriculum, focusing our instruction and assessment, targeting our interventions when necessary, and working to continue our upward trends."
SAT scores for students of the Washington County Public Schools increased in all assessed areas: Critical Reading (Verbal), Math, and Writing. Last year was the first year the College Board reported the writing score. The county's combined total score rose by nine points and was higher than the combined total score for the state by eight points. Also, the county's math score of 520 exceeded both the state (502) and national (515) averages. The county's Critical Reading (Verbal) score and Writing score increased by four points each over last year's scores.
Mrs. Hanlin said the continued strength of SAT performance reflects dedication and hard work of many. "We have maintained our charge to the teachers to expect more from their students, to challenge them, and to focus on critical thinking through the use of higher order questioning. The students and staff have responded in a very positive way."
WCPS participation in the SATs increased from 52% of graduating seniors in 2006 to 56% of graduating seniors, or 780 students, in 2007. That number represents the highest number of takers in the past eight years and the highest percentage of takers in the same time frame.

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