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HCPSS State Assessment Scores Show Consistent Trends

August 28th, 2019

Howard County public school students’ performance in English language arts and mathematics achievement continues to follow trends observed in recent years, as reflected in 2019 Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) scores released by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

The state assessments are based on materials developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). The tests are rigorous and designed to evaluate real-world skills that are essential to career and college readiness, such as solving problems and constructing effective written responses. The assessments use a five-point score scale, with students performing at levels 4 and 5 considered “proficient” and on track to graduate high school prepared to succeed in college and careers.

In general, HCPSS 2019 scores for students overall showed improvements for English language arts (ELA) and slight declines for mathematics compared to 2018 scores, mirroring trends seen across the state. HCPSS scores were among the five top ranking Maryland school districts in all measures, and ranked the highest among the five neighboring districts in every measure except Grade 7 mathematics.

HCPSS overall ELA results for all Grade 3-8 were among the highest compared to other state districts, with 58.4% of students scoring at levels 4-5, up 2.1 percentage points from the previous year. For Grade 10 ELA, 65.7% of students scored at levels 4-5, an increase of 4.8 percentage points from 2018, and again among the highest performing state districts.

The 2019 ELA results for the elementary grades show 55.6% of students performing at levels 4-5 in Grade 3, 56.6% in Grade 4, and 59.1% in Grade 5, comparing favorably to 41.2%, 43.6% and 43.9% percent, respectively, for Maryland overall.

Middle school ELA results revealed similar trends, with 56.5% at levels 4-5 in Grade 6, 61.0% in Grade 7, and 61.4% in Grade 8. The comparable state results for these grades were 41.1%, 47.3%, and 45.1%.

Elementary mathematics scores showed 57.4% of students at levels 4-5 in Grade 3, 56.0% in Grade 4, and 54.1% in Grade 5, compared to 42.5%, 39.4%, and 36.7% for these grades across Maryland.

HCPSS middle school mathematics scores were 47.1%, 32.3%, and 18.3% in Grades 6, 7 and 8 respectively, all comparing favorably to scores reported statewide. However, meaningful comparisons for middle school math scores cannot be made at the state level, because a large proportion of students begin advanced level mathematics in these grades, and course sequence practices vary widely among school systems.

At the high school level, HCPSS students significantly outperformed their statewide peers. For Algebra I, 55.8% of Howard County students scored at levels 4-5, more than twice the state average of 27.2%. For the English 10 assessment, 65.7% achieved levels 4-5 at HCPSS, compared to 42.6% for the state.

“PARCC and other performance measures included in our Strategic Call to Action serve as useful benchmarks to inform our instruction and help us identify opportunity gaps,” said Superintendent Michael J. Martirano. “We value this added insight, while keeping it in perspective among the multiple performance measures embedded in our Strategic Call to Action, which guides our work in ensuring academic success and social-emotional well-being for every student.”

The Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) ELA and Math Results report presented to the state Board can be viewed online. Full MCAP results are provided among the Data Downloads on the Maryland Report Card site,