Dorchester students improving at faster rate than state average

Submitted to Dorchester Banner Children are excited today, as they begin a new school year. These children participated in the STEM Program over the summer at Mace’s Lane Middle School.

Submitted to Dorchester Banner
Children are excited today, as they begin a new school year. These children participated in the STEM Program over the summer at Mace’s Lane Middle School.

CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County students’ results in the latest Maryland state assessments show an improvement generally exceeding that of the state.Progress was particularly marked in Dorchester County’s middle schools, with the aggregate increase in the number of students at level 4 or 5 in grades 6 through 8 reaching 7 percentage points. South Dorchester K-8’s middle school students outperformed the state average in all six middle school testing categories, with the 7th grade scoring 100 prcent proficiency in ELA.

They were joined by North Dorchester Middle School in exceeding the state average in five of the six testing categories. Mace’s Lane Middle School outperformed the state average in both 7th and 8th grade ELA and math, showing increases in the number of students reaching proficiency in all three grades, with a 20-point increase over last year’s results in 7th and 8th grade ELA.

Both Warwick Elementary and South Dorchester K-8 exceeded the state averages in five out of six elementary school testing areas, with Vienna Elementary joining them in 4th grade math.

Vienna’s students showed significant growth over last year’s ELA scores with a 14-point increase in the number of students achieving levels 4 or 5 in each of the grades from 3 to 5. Hurlock Elementary’ s 4th graders scored a 15-point increase in ELA and a 10-point increase in math. Sandy Hill Elementary showed gains in five out of six testing areas, the most of any elementary school, the largest being a 13-point increase in 5th grade ELA.

“We’re not where we want to be but we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Diana Mitchell. “This improvement provides a solid foundation upon which our teachers and administrators can continue to build.”

There was a decline in high school results across the state, and Dorchester County followed that trend. However, there were still bright spots with North Dorchester High School exceeding state averages in four out of six testing areas. Both Cambridge-South Dorchester High School and North Dorchester outperformed the state average in Algebra I, and 100 percent of all 74 middle school students who took the test early reached proficiency.

The total percentage of Dorchester County students attaining a performance level 4 or 5 on ELA exams, grades 3-8, was 31 percent compared to the state average of 41.6 percent. The percentage of students scoring at performance level 4 or 5 on mathematics, grades 3-8, was 23 perent as opposed to the state’s 34.1 percent. The state averages were only one percentage point above last year’s results in both ELA and math.

The Maryland assessments are scored on a 650 to 850-point scale, which has been simplified into five performance levels, with level 1 set as not meeting expectations and level 5 set as exceeding expectations. Performance level 4 or 5 is considered ‘proficient’ on the assessment by the Maryland State Board of Education.

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