School officials say this drop is not surprising.
The results from students taking the Maryland School Assessment test in 2013 dropped a bit, but many education officials are not surprised.
The Maryland State Department of Education says this decline was not unexpected, as elementary and middle school students didn't do as well on the reading and mathematics parts of the test compared to 2012. Spokesman Bill Reinhard says many schools in Maryland are making the transition from the curriculum based on the MSA to the Common Core, which is considered more rigorous. But MSA is still a requirement. "This is sort of a disconnect between what kids are learning and what they're being tested on. The reason we're continue to test is because that's required by federal law," he says.
Reinhard says MSA will be replaced with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) during the 2014-2015 academic year.
For 2013, MSDE says the percentage of elementary students at proficient levels in reading fell slightly from 88.2% to 86.4%, while those scoring at proficient levels in mathematics dropped from 87.7% to 83.9%. For middle school students, scores in proficient levels for reading increased from 82.1% to 83.4% from 2012-13, but mathematics scores fell from 76.2% to 72.2%.
The results in Frederick County also mirror those on the state level, according to Jeanine Molock, the Director of Research, Development and Accountability. "Declines in reading and mathematics at the elementary grade, and slight decline in mathematics at the middle school grade, and a very slight increase in reading at the middle school grade from last year," she says.
Molock says Frederick County is also making the transition from curriculum based on the MSA to Common Core. "As we are making this migration, we've encouraged our staff to teach toward the new and more rigorous standards in the new curriculum," she says.
Even though MSA is being replaced, Reinhard says this assessment test has brought some good results. "We have seen a fairly significant increase throughout the years on the test in all 24 of our school systems, including Frederick County, that has seen a remarkable rise over time," he says. "We also see a decrease in our achievement gaps that have been a struggle not just for Maryland, but all the school systems in the country."
And Molock says she says some bright spots in the 2013 MSA scores. "When I look at the scores for Frederick County, I'm actually quite pleased," says Molock.
The state of Maryland has been using the MSA since 2003.