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(B Sun, 12/1) MSPAP scores online

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  • Diana Talabac
    [URL ref = http://www.sunspot.net/cgi-bin/gx.cgi/AppLogic+FTContentServer?section=news- maryland-sun&pagename=story&storyid=1150180206145] MSPAP scores online
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 1999
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      MSPAP scores online
      Internet: Parents have a powerful new tool to find and compare
      data on Maryland schools, and to hold educators accountable.

      By Mike Bowler; Sun Staff

      AT NOON TODAY, people anywhere on the planet with access to the Internet
      will be able to look at
      the 1999 results of the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program
      (MSPAP) in
      more depth than would have been dreamed possible only a few years ago.

      They can learn all the major demographic and educational data
      for any public school in Maryland: enrollment, MSPAP test scores
      for seven years running, number of children receiving free
      lunches (a measure of poverty), student mobility rates, dropout
      rates, number of boys and number of girls, racial statistics, test
      results by race and gender -- and that's only a part of it.

      Thanks to computers and the Internet, interested parties can do
      some sophisticated comparisons. With a few clicks, the computer
      will create a graph showing whether a school is an outlier -- doing
      better or worse than expected, given its scores and
      demographics. If 43 percent of a school's third-graders scored at
      the satisfactory level in reading, for example, a feature called
      "visual display" will show the school's student mobility rate against
      the rate of all other Maryland third grades with the same score.

      It's an invaluable service made possible by the wonders of
      technology. It's also the very essence of accountability. The
      service allows parents to answer the questions, "Where are we?"
      and "How did we get here?" What can't be answered is, "Where
      are we going?"

      Mark Moody, assistant superintendent in charge of testing, says
      Maryland has had 8.3 million "hits" on its Web site
      (www.msde.state.md.us) in the 11 months since it opened,
      although only 200,000 to 300,000 are classified as "unique users"
      because they left their names or e-mail addresses.

      Maryland is one of 26 states displaying its statewide test scores
      and other information on the Web, says Kathy Christie, director of
      the clearinghouse at the Education Commission of the States, a
      Denver-based organization that monitors the nation's schools.

      "For parents and people who want a dispassionate look at what's
      happening in their schools, this is an invaluable service," she
      says. "Because of the increasing sophistication of the data, we're
      beginning to spot patterns, seeing what works and what doesn't."

      Left unstated is that parents can look at the data and draw their
      own conclusions without filtering by the educators or (yikes!) the

      Not long ago, Maryland's data collecting was primitive at best. For
      years in the early 1970s, the State Department of Education
      released data for all districts except Baltimore. The city, which had
      a unique legal status, was so incompetent that it couldn't gather
      accurate data even for basic categories like enrollment.

      Then there was a period during which racial data were withheld,
      lest unfavorable comparisons be made. To this day, state officials
      are sensitive about making comparisons. They refuse to rank
      districts or schools, but with a little work, anyone can do it. The
      data are out there for anyone with a computer and modem to see
      and examine, condemn or admire.

      The way it should be in a free society.

      Moody says the 1999 facts and figures will be on the Web at noon
      today, after state Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick's annual
      MSPAP news conference in downtown Baltimore.

      State's 24 school districts share information on Web

      The Maryland Association of Boards of Education has launched a
      useful Web site that will allow board members in the 24 districts to
      share information. But, of course, the site is available to all. It
      includes a directory and forum, calendar of events, reference
      library and legislative updates. The address is www.mabe.org.

      Elite group of teachers earns national certification

      A new group of Maryland teachers has reached the highest
      pinnacle of their profession: certification by the National Board for
      Professional Teaching Standards.

      These teachers survived a voluntary months-long process in
      which they went through rigorous self-examination and
      examination by outside experts.

      They are: [none in Howard County]

      Originally published on Dec 1 1999
    • HigginsforBdofEd@xxx.xxx
      I went to the Maryland Report Card presentation at the State Board of Education this am and Howard County is ranked second place behind Kent County on the
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 1, 1999
        I went to the Maryland Report Card presentation at the State Board of
        Education this am and Howard County is ranked second place behind Kent County
        on the MSPAP for 1999.

        Melody Higgins
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