MSAs...Bester Elementary posts significant gains

Maryland School Assessment results show continued improvement in WCPS student achievement
...Bester Elementary posts significant gains

The results of the 2006 Maryland School Assessment (MSA), released today at noon by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), indicate a fourth, consecutive year of improvement for the Washington County Public Schools. The MSA reflects performance in reading and math in grades three through eight.
"The results again demonstrate that the system has achieved consistent, significant improvement since MSA testing began," according to Ed Forrest, president of the Washington County Board of Education. "We will not be satisfied until we reach 100% proficiency for all students in reading and math, but we're pleased by the fantastic progress toward that goal."
The MSA testing program began in 2003 under mandates set forth in the "No Child Left Behind" legislation by the Federal government.
The 2006 system-wide results have increased at almost every grade and category, including an increase of 7 percentage points in 6th grade math, and increases in 3rd and 4th grade math. Now, almost 90% of WCPS' 4th grade students and more than 85% of 3rd grade students scored at or above proficiency levels in math. Nearly 85% of the county's 4th grade students were also at or above proficiency levels in reading. In addition, more than 81% percent of WCPS' 3rd and 5th grade students, and nearly 80% of 6th grade students were at or above proficiency levels in reading.
"We continue to work very hard at refining and aligning curriculum, providing resources to the classroom, and challenging students and staff to peak performance. Some of the individual stories, like Bester Elementary, are phenomenal," said Dr. Betty Morgan, Superintendent. "I salute the students, parents and staff for taking the challenge very seriously, and working hard to meet the goals set forth by the State."
Bester Elementary School, currently undergoing a targeted school improvement effort, posted double-digit percentage point increases in almost all areas.
The Maryland School Assessment does include 10th grade testing, but the high school component will not be available until later this year. MSDE will also release the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report later this summer. AYP is a requirement of No Child Left Behind by which school systems must demonstrate annual progress toward 100% proficiency in student performance by 2014. AYP reflects progress in the overall student population in the grades tested, as well as three categories of special services: Students who qualify for Free and/or Reduced Price Meals (FARMs), Special Education, and Limited English Proficiency. Success of students is also measured in the following racial subgroups: American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, African/American, White, and Hispanic.
The Maryland Report Card website, www.mdreportcard.org contains additional data.