The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has released results of the newest state assessments and has reported statewide increases in English language arts scores with some decreases in math. Frederick County Public Schools received the district’s results and has begun to analyze performance in comparison with the state and other districts.
In English language arts, as has consistently been the case, FCPS continues to outperform the state. When comparing the combined grade levels of 3-8 in English language arts, FCPS performed over 10 percentage points higher than the state, and performed over 20 percentage points higher in English language arts at grade 10.
Of Maryland’s 24 school districts, FCPS consistently ranks in the top quartile (see Figure 1). Of school systems who share the top quartile, FCPS celebrates one of the largest enrolled and most diverse populations of student scholars.
Likewise, when comparing the combined grade levels of 3-8 in math, FCPS performed over 10 percentage points higher than the state, and performed over 20 percentage points higher in Algebra 1. FCPS has again maintained performance in the top quartile (see Figure 2), except in grades 3, 4, and 6.
Having five years of data (2015-2019) allows FCPS to determine positive, negative, or neutral trends in performance. Overall, five-year trends at FCPS are relatively positive in both English language arts and math. Exceptions are third grade, which shows a decline in English language arts for performance levels 4-5, with a slight increase of two percentage points from 2018 to 2019, and relatively little change in math. Eighth grade scores show a notable increase in English language arts performance from 2018 to 2019. In math, the most notable decreases from 2018 to 2019 were in grade 6 and Algebra 1. Like results statewide, FCPS results reflect that a continued increase in repeat test takers in Algebra 1 contributes to declining results. An additional variable is an increase in students who took the test for the first time, as FCPS has improved courses to provide greater access to students.
"While FCPS celebrates strong statewide performance in a state that consistently performs well in the nation, the school system remains committed to eliminating gaps in achievement for certain student groups," says System Accountability and School Administration Executive Director Dr. Jamie Aliveto.
Consistently on English language arts and math assessments, with the exception of Algebra 1, African American, Hispanic, English learner, Special Education, and Free and Reduced-Price Meals student groups are demonstrating increases in performance levels 4-5 and/or respective decreases in performance levels 1-2, though gaps in achievement still exist.
"In the quest for FCPS to be the first school system in the country to eliminate achievement gaps," Aliveto says, "each FCPS school’s improvement team has been working hard to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment, identify root causes, and implement evidence-based strategies and interventions. FCPS staff look forward to continued partnerships with the research community to ensure that evidence-based practices inform classroom instruction and school culture. FCPS has been fine tuning a multi-tiered system of supports in schools, focusing on academics and social/emotional/behavioral needs."
For more details, stay tuned for the submission of the FCPS Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated Strategic Plan, slated for submission to the state in mid-October.