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2014 MSA Performance

(For complete MSA results, click on the Maryland Report Card)


            NEWARK (July 11, 2014) – The Maryland State Department of Education’s (MSDE) July 11 release of 2014 Maryland School Assessment (MSA) results confirms anticipated drops in student performance due to the ongoing implementation of more rigorous standards aimed at advancing college and career readiness.  MSA results in Worcester County Public Schools demonstrate high levels of performance while reflecting a time of transition.

            The 2014 MSA results indicate that 91 percent of WCPS students in testing grades 3 through 8 scored “proficient” or “advanced” in both reading and mathematics, compared with 94 percent in 2013. “This past year,” explained Superintendent Dr. Jerry Wilson, “teachers were transitioning to the new Maryland College and Career Ready Standards within new county-developed curricula, while administering a state accountability assessment – the MSA – based on the old standards. We are proud of our students and teachers for working hard to sustain high student performance despite misalignments.”

            On the 2014 MSA in reading, 92 percent of students scored proficient or advanced, compared to 95 percent in 2013. In mathematics – where the shift in scope and sequence is more noticeable – the drop was slightly more significant.  In 2014, 89 percent of students scored proficient or advanced, compared with 94 percent in 2013.

            “MSA score comparisons between last year and this year are challenging to make,” said Chief Academic Officer Dr. John Quinn.  “In addition to the misalignment between what is being taught and what is being tested, full implementation of the new standards has taken place at different rates, not only between content areas, grade levels, and schools, but also between other Maryland school districts. Although we welcome accountability, we caution that this year is not a good year to look for ‘apple to apple’ comparisons. There are too many variables.”

            Next year, the transition continues. For the first time, students will receive two mandated assessments as part of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). In the 2014-2015, students will take a mid-year performance-based assessment (PBA) in English Language Arts and in Mathematics, administered in November and December for high school students and in March for elementary and middle school students. In addition, students will take an end-of-year (EOY) assessment in both ELA and Mathematics.

“PARCC assessments are designed differently than the MSA; PARCC tests are designed to demonstrate deeper levels of understanding,” said Quinn. “The new assessments will require students to apply knowledge to real-world problems. In addition, the paper and pencil MSA will be replaced with a longer online PARCC assessment. We will continue to work diligently to prepare our students for these dramatic changes.”

            Preparation is already underway both systemically and at the state level. For example, while MSA was being administered to the majority of students in grades 3 through 8, PARCC pilots were administered to a group of students at each school. “These pilots were required as field tests to help PARCC and MSDE measure question reliability,” explained Quinn. “Results of the pilots will not be released to schools or districts and they were not administered as an accountability measure.” Students who took a PARCC assessment did not take the corresponding MSA in reading or mathematics.

            Worcester County Public Schools continues to embrace the need for reforms. “Progress requires change,” said Wilson, “and change requires transition. We are extremely proud of our teachers, staff, students, parents, and community for their commitment to becoming a leader in innovation, providing a world-class education to our students. I have no doubt that we are on track to better preparing our students for college and career in a globally competitive world.”