Charles Seniors Meet State Testing Requirement

LA PLATA, Md. (October 18, 2010)—Charles County Public Schools’ class of 2010 met the challenges of the state High School Assessments (HSA) and increased its graduation rate, according to data released October 6 by the Maryland State Department of Education.

No Charles County high school student failed to graduate solely because of the High School Assessments (HSA), which is a graduation requirement that took effect with the class of 2009. Other graduation requirements include student service learning and completion of a minimum of 23 credits as specified by Maryland law.

HSA data shows that 2,090 Charles County Public Schools seniors met the HSA requirement with 91.6 percent of students met the requirement by passing all four tests or earning a 1602 combined score. Data shows 1,553 students, or 74.3 percent, passed all four tests and 362 students, or 17.3 percent, met the requirement by achieving a combined score of 1602 points across the four assessments. Another 8.2 percent, or 172 students, used the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation to pass the HSAs. Three students were granted state waivers.

“The targets our students must reach increase every year, and our students continue to meet high expectations set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act and the High School Assessments. I also commend our high school teachers and staff who continue to work hard to track the progress of each senior to ensure that they meet these targets. The HSA requirement added a new dimension for graduating students, and the data shows teachers and students are rising to the challenge. We continue to raise standards to make certain our students are college- and work-ready,” said Superintendent James E. Richmond.

HSA is a requirement for the Maryland High School Diploma, which started with the class of 2009. HSAs include algebra, English II, government and biology. The algebra and English II scores, along with graduation rates, are used to determine Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) at the high school level. Five Charles County public high schools met AYP for the 2009-10 school year. Thomas Stone High School met the academic requirements for AYP; however, the school did not meet the graduation rate requirement. Stone’s graduation rate was 85.12. The state graduation requirement for AYP is 85.5 percent. Charles County Public Schools’ overall school improvement status is met.

Already, the class of 2011 is making progress toward meeting the HSA graduation requirement. By the end of last school year, 89 percent of this year’s senior class had met the HSA requirement with 1,553 students, or 72.3 percent, passing all four tests and 272 students, or 16.7 percent, receiving a combined score of 1602. That leaves 223, or 11 percent, with requirements to be met this school year. “This class is making faster progress toward passing the HSA as compared to last school year when we had 360 seniors still working to meet the requirement,” said Director of Research and Assessment Cliff Eichel. The 2011 results are as of the May administration of the HSA, and do not include results of any students who completed Bridge projects over the summer.

The data release includes a variety of information about the Class of 2010. For example:

— The graduation rate improved in 2010, rising slightly from 88.26 to 89.83 percent.

— Students at all six Charles County high schools made federally mandated Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) academic targets.

— Only 1.81 percent of the senior class dropped out of school, compared to 2.60 percent in 2009.

There are several ways that students can meet the rigorous HSA requirements. Students can pass all four tests outright; earn a combined score of 1602 on all four tests; or complete the Bridge Plan, which offers students who have not achieved passing scores on assessments an optional way to meet the HSA requirement. Students failing to pass an HSA can complete a single eight- to twelve-hour project for every 21 points they fall short of a passing score.

All 2010 school and system data is available on the updated Web site.

Source: Charles County Public School System

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