The Washington Post

Prince George’s sees some improvements on state science tests

Science scores on Maryland’s standardized tests improved in nearly 50 percent of the 165 elementary and middle schools in Prince George’s County where fifth and eighth graders were given the exams last spring.

Thirty-two schools saw double- digit gains, according to results that were released Tuesday.

While the county continues to make modest gains, it still remains near the bottom in state test scores in reading, math and science.

On the science tests, fifth-grade scores have inched up 6 percent since 2008, while eighth-grade scores have improved by 18 percent in the same time frame.

“We are really impressed with the progress our eighth-graders are making in science,” Schools Chief Executive Officer Kevin M. Maxwell said in a statement. “Teachers and principals are focused on ensuring coursework is aligned to the new Common Core state standards, and teachers are receiving the professional development opportunities they need to be the best they can be. This is especially important as students prepare for high-tech careers and work in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

But not all the news was good for Prince George’s.

Fewer schools met the state’s “annual measurable objectives,” also known as AMO targets, which measure a school’s overall student performance, student growth, closing of the achievement gap and preparation of students for college and careers.

According to the county, 60 schools met the AMO targets, down from 94 schools in 2012.

School officials blamed the decline on new national academic standards, which schools began adopting last year.

Ovetta Wiggins covers Maryland state politics in Annapolis.

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