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FAILED STATE: Less than half of Maryland students pass English, math assessments


Three years after Maryland began to hold public school students to higher standards, results of English and math assessments released Tuesday show students have made only slight progress and less than half statewide passed the tests.

In grades three through eight, 41 percent of students passed the English test, while only a third passed the math assessment. The pass rate for English rose slightly, from 38.7 percent to 40.6 percent. The percentage of students passing math dropped slightly, by less than 1 percentage point, compared to a year ago. The test is called the Partnership for Assessments of Career and College Readiness, or PARCC.

About half of Maryland 10th-graders passed the PARCC English test and 36.5 percent of those students who took Algebra I passed. State officials plan to require successful completion of those tests as a condition for graduation, but haven’t yet decided what the score should be.

“The continuing story is that only about 40 percent of our students are on track and there still remain huge achievement gaps,” state school board president Andrew Smarick said. White and Asian students are making faster gains on the tests than African-American students, creating a growing gap in achievement.

“More privileged students tend to do better at a more accelerated rate,” said school board member David Steiner. “That is a problem of school systems across the nation.”

Baltimore City and Baltimore County students scored below the state average. In the city, only 15 percent of students passed the English test and 11.9 percent passed the math. The pass rate in Baltimore County went down in elementary and middle school math by 1.6 percentage points, with 30.3 percent of students passing. In English, passing rates improved by 1.4 percentage points to 36.5 percent.

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Even in the highest-performing school systems, less than 60 percent of students passed the tests. In Howard County, 56 percent of students passed the English exam, an increase of 2 percentage points from last year. Passing scores in math remained essentially flat at 48.1 percent.

P/C PIXABAY

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