Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seniors meet state testing requirement

Charles County Public Schools' class of 2009 met the challenges of the new state High School Assessments (HSA) graduation requirement and increased its graduation rate, according to data released today by the Maryland State Department of Education.

No Charles County high school student failed to graduate solely because of the High School Assessments (HSA), which is a graduation requirement that took effect with the class of 2009. Other graduation requirements include student service learning and completion of a minimum of 23 credits as specified by law.

HSA data shows that of the 2,104 Charles County Public Schools graduating seniors, 100 percent met the HSA requirement with 1,537 students passing all four tests. Additionally, 404 students, or 19.1 percent, met the requirement by achieving a combined score of 1602 points across the four assessments. Another 7.7 percent, or 163 students, used the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation to pass the HSAs. No Charles County students received a waiver.

"Our high schools and instructional staff worked hard to track the progress of individual students and to provide a plan to help them be successful on the HSA. I commend each staff member for making sure our students graduated with their class," said Superintendent James E. Richmond.

The graduation rate also improved slightly in 2009, rising from 87.24 percent in 2008 to 88.26 percent.

HSA is a requirement for the Maryland High School Diploma, which started with the class of 2009. HSAs include algebra, English II, government and biology. The algebra and English II scores are also used as part of the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) and to determine Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) at the high school level. All six Charles County public high schools met AYP for the 2008-09 school year.

Newly released HSA data also shows that the class of 2010 is making progress toward meeting the graduation requirement. Already, 83.3 percent of the class of 2010 has met the HSA requirement, with 1,427 of 2,153 enrolled students passing all four tests, 359 scoring a 1602 composite score and seven completing Bridge Plan projects. These results are as of the May administration of the HSA, and do not include results of any students who completed Bridge projects over the summer. There are 360 seniors who still must meet the requirement. Many of these students have transferred to Charles County Public Schools and have not taken all the tests for various reasons. There are three additional opportunities for students to take or retake the tests this year. Richmond said he anticipates that once these students have completed all four exams, they will meet the HSA graduation requirement.

There are several ways that students can meet the rigorous HSA requirements. Students can pass all four tests outright; earn a combined score of 1602 on all four tests; or complete the Bridge Plan, which offers students who have not achieved passing scores on assessments an optional way to meet the HSA requirement. Students failing to pass an HSA can complete a single eight- to twelve-hour project for every twenty-one points they fall short of the passing score.

Students who have not passed the tests are being offered additional classes, support and program adjustments to help move them toward graduation.

All 2009 school and system data will be available on the updated www.MdReportCard.org Web site on Tuesday.


Janis Sartucci said...

Did the State release the waiver information or is that your local school system releasing that information?

Jennifer Abell said...

This was actually a press release from our school system. Don;t have my notes with me but I believe it was embargoed until Monday and then released.