Saturday, May 10, 2008

Test Scores Suggest Success In Middle School Instruction

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 8, 2008; Page SM05

Middle schools, forever castigated as the weak link in public education, have made steady progress on Maryland's standardized test, and well over half of the students at the top campuses in the state's Washington suburbs have earned the highest rating on the exam.

An analysis of 2007 Maryland School Assessment scores for suburban middle schools finds ample evidence of improvement, with some schools posting dramatic gains and comparatively few losing ground. The results defy conventional wisdom, which portrays middle schools as laggards in the field of school reform.

At Herbert Hoover Middle School in Potomac, 71 percent of students who took the MSA last spring scored at the highest of three performance levels, advanced, and 25 percent scored in the middle level, proficient. In 2006, by contrast, at no middle school in the eight-county region did more than 63 percent of students score advanced on the MSA.

The numbers of students scoring proficient and advanced on the MSA are added to measure "proficiency," the standard by which schools are judged under the federal No Child Left Behind law. The lowest-scoring level, basic, does not count toward proficiency.

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