Cromwell to Regroup After Missing AYP for First Time
In total, 10 Glen Burnie-area schools are in different phases of the School Improvement Process, or pre-process, after the 2011 Maryland School Assessment scores were released Wednesday.
Mary Beth Gormely said she was disappointed when she learned that some of the students at George T. Cromwell Elementary—where she is principal—did not meet the target scores on the 2011 Maryland School Assessment (MSA) test.
This is the first time the school has not met the requirements since test scores were recorded in 2003.
Given annually to students in grades three through eight, the MSA test is designed to measure a student’s proficiency in reading and math. The MSA was created to line up with federal guidelines for the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act and all schools are expected to be 100 percent proficient by 2014.
“I feel like it’s a disappointment to the community and to the teachers,” Gormley said. “The teachers don’t even know yet.”
Overall, 75.6 percent of Cromwell students received a proficient score on the MSA, but students in two of the 10 student groups—special education and limited English proficiency (LEP)—did not met state Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) on the math portion of the test. Of the 10 LEP students who took the MSA in 2011, only five passed. Similarly, only nine of the 18 special education students who took the MSA passed the math portion, according to the state department of education's Maryland Report Card website.
“It’s hard because if you have 100 students [take the test] and one student doesn’t get a proficient score, that’s only 1 percent of the group. But if you only have 10 students and one student doesn’t get a proficient score, that’s 10 percent of the group,” she said. “With a smaller group, it makes it harder.”
And even though as a whole Cromwell students met AYP on the math portion of the MSA, fifth-graders scored significantly lower than the third- and fourth-grade students.
According to the Maryland Report Card website, 65.9 percent of fifth-graders received a proficient score on the math portion of the MSA while 94 percent of fourth-graders and 90.7 percent of third-graders received a passing score.
Gormley said she plans to involve parents and teachers in whatever practices she implements in the fall to target fifth-graders and students in special groups.
“I’m going to look at specific areas in math where they didn’t make it. There are so many pieces to math [curriculum] and we need to look at it and put resources in place to get those scores up,” she said.
And though she said she knows the students, teachers, parents and community will be disappointed in this year's results, they need to stay focused on improving the scores next year.
“We can’t hold our heads and wonder, ‘How did this happen?’ We have figure out where do we go, how do we move forward?” she said.
Cromwell was one of five Glen Burnie-area schools to be placed on the local monitoring list for not making AYP this year. Other schools include Oakwood, Glen Burnie Park and Rippling Woods elementary schools and Old Mill Middle School South. This means the county school system staff is asked to work with these schools to improve students’ performance.
Marley Middle didn’t meet AYP in math for the third year or in reading for the second year in a row and is in year two of school improvement.
Corkran Middle did not meet AYP for the fourth year in both reading and math and Old Mill Middle North also did not make AYP for the fourth year in math and for the first year in reading. Both schools are in the corrective action phase of school improvement, meaning the school and school system will take specific actions to improve the school.
Brooklyn Park Middle School did not meet AYP in reading for the seventh year in a row and did not meet targets in math for the second year. The school is in the restructuring implementation phase and plans for the school have been approved by the Maryland State Board of Education.
Throughout the county, schools saw MSA scores rise across student groups, but the number of elementary and middle schools meeting state AYP targets fell for the second year in a row, according a press release from Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS). The release is based on data from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) that was made available Wednesday.
Of the 100 elementary, middle, charter and alternative learning schools in Anne Arundel County, 24 did not make AYP this year. Seven of the county’s 19 middle schools made AYP this year, which is an increase of two more schools than in 2010. However, only 67 of the county’s 78 elementary schools made AYP in 2011—five fewer than last year.
“The standards continue to rise, and as the proficiency standard approaches 100 percent, we are seeing schools that had long been above the bar fall below it,” AACPS Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell said in the release. “That is the case not just in our county, but across the state. The challenge for us, and for all districts, is to address the individual issues that exist at schools quickly so that our schools do not move into the School Improvement Process, but rather move above the bar for good.”
Thirteen schools have been placed in a local monitoring phase in the process. It is the first time many of these schools have not made AYP but all of them have made AYP for at least the last two years, said schools spokesman Bob Mosier.
In addition to the five Glen Burnie-area schools, Broadneck, Hebron-Harman, High Point, Jacobsville, Maryland City, Seven Oaks and Van Bokkelen elementary schools and Magothy River middle school are in the local monitoring phase.
If schools continue to miss targets, they advance to other phases of the process until they make AYP two years in a row. The final phase, after two levels of school improvement and corrective action, is restructuring.
Eleven schools that did not make AYP this year are in various phases of the School Improvement Process: Arundel, Chesapeake Bay, MacArthur, Meade, George Fox and Annapolis middle schools and the J. Albert Adams Academy special school, in addition to the three Glen Burnie-area schools.
Southern and Wiley H. Bates middle schools are in different phases of school improvement but made AYP this year. If they make AYP again next year, they will no longer be in the School Improvement Process.
According to the release, there were sharp gains among special education students with middle school passing scores rising 5.7 points in reading and 5.3 points in math, and elementary school passing scores rising by 3.4 points in math and 2 points in reading.
"Our school system's dedication to maximizing meaningful access and promoting accelerated learning through differentiated instruction is evident in these assessment results," said AACPS Director of Special Education Mary Tillar. "Our educators and employees should be commended for their efforts in promoting educational excellence by believing in the unlimited potential of every single child.”
Editor's note: This article has been updated from its original version to correct the number of schools in the county—100 schools include elementary, middle, charter and alternative learning schools.