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On Thursday, May 17, 2001, the Baltimore City Public School System released the results of the 2001 administration of the CTBS/5. The following bulleted items highlight the results:

Students Make Record Gains in Every Grade

First graders in the Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS) tested above average in reading (54%) and math (51%) on the 2001 Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills (CTBS/5). It is the first time in over a decade that BCPSS students have been on or above average with their counterparts nationwide. The announcement of the CTBS/5 preliminary results was made by BCPSS Chief Executive Officer Carmen V. Russo at a news conference and celebration held at city school headquarters (200 E. North Avenue) this morning.

Preliminary results show dramatic and sustained improvements in every grade in reading and math since the school system began administering the test in 1998. Additionally, data indicate that BCPSS now has fewer low performing students, more high performing students and an increase in the number of strong performing schools.

CTBS/5, a nationally standardized test, was administered to 53,104 BCPSS students in grades 1 through 7 in March. The test is administered annually in the spring to assess progress in reading and math, and to identify areas for improvement as mandated by the Master Plan.

Flanked by Mayor Martin O’Malley, State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick, the New Board of School Commissioners, and a host of city, state and school officials, Ms. Russo congratulated principals, teachers, students, and parents, and praised the visionaries who formed the 1997 city-state partnership.

As the fourth year of the five-year city-state partnership draws to a close, the initial prediction of a dramatic rise in test scores within 3-5 years is now being realized. Dr. J. Tyson Tildon, the first chairman of the New Board of School Commissioners appointed in 1997 by Governor Parris N. Glendening and former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, thanked the community for rallying around Senate Bill 795, the landmark legislation that created the partnership and mandated system wide reform. "We raised the bar and made an unprecedented investment of resources in the early grades, and it is paying off in a big way for Baltimore City school children," said Dr. Tildon. "Last year’s success on CTBS was not a fluke; we are moving forward; and today the entire school community has reason to be proud."

The highest performers in reading in grade 1 were at the following elementaries:

Across the board, students in grades 1 through 5 scored above the national average in reading at: Midtown Academy, Mt. Washington, Roland Park and Woodhome.

Similarly, first through fifth graders scored above the national average in mathematics at Francis Scott Key, Mt Washington, Pimlico, Roland Park and Woodhome. In addition, 25 schools tested above the national average in three or more grades in reading and 24 schools tested above the national average in three or more grades in mathematics.

City school officials credit the implementation of a new reading and math curriculum; standards based assessments, the expansion of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs, and in-service training for teachers, as critical to the repeated success on CTBS. "But monitoring is the key," says Dr. Betty Morgan, chief academic officer of the BCPSS, under whose direction much of the improvements in the instructional program have been realized. "We are consistently evaluating how well our children are learning what we are teaching," says Dr. Morgan. "As I have visited schools throughout the system, I have been very impressed with the continued improvement in the quality of teaching, and how we are responding to children who need more time to learn through extended day, extended year, and intensive tutorial and summer school programs. Ongoing intervention, ‘just in time’ professional development that promotes teaching to a standard, and planning teaching around that standard have been key factors in the phenomenal results we are celebrating today."


Release Date: 8/28/2001

Baltimore County SAT Scores Soar; 24-Point Gain Is Greatest in Maryland

Superintendent Credits Teachers, Administrators, and Partnership

TOWSON, MD. (August 28, 2001) – Baltimore County Public Schools’ overall average scores on the 2001 SAT verbal and math portions increased by a total of 24 points – the largest jump in school system history and one that outpaced all other school systems in the state.

Baltimore County’s mean score on the verbal portion of the national assessment rose from 496 to 506, a 10-point increase and on a par with the national verbal mean score. On the mathematics portion of the test, Baltimore County leaped 14 points over its 2000 scores, moving from 501 last year to 515 – one point over the national mean score and five points over Maryland’s mean score.

“Clearly, the hard work of our teachers, administrators, and curriculum staff has had a positive impact,” said School Superintendent Dr. Joe A. Hairston. “Baltimore County can be proud of its students and schools today for setting the pace statewide and for laying the groundwork for many years of achievement to come.

“These results show that the Baltimore County Public School system is on the move,” added Dr. Hairston. “Our focus on improving SAT performance has yielded impressive results. Our valuable partnership with The College Board, with its significant professional development and heightened parent awareness campaign about the SAT, has played an important part in achieving today’s results. We look forward to seeing continued progress in the years ahead.”

Last year, Baltimore County Public Schools became one of only a few school systems nationwide to join a partnership with The College Board, which administers the SAT, PSAT, and Advanced Placement (AP) examinations nationally. The partnership has provided a wide array of detailed data, staff training, parent conferences and workshops, and added resources for the school system as it concentrates on raising scores and participation rates on both the SAT and on AP tests throughout the county.

Baltimore County also has committed to using the PSAT test – typically administered as a preview of the SAT – as a way of introducing high school sophomores to the SAT and acclimating students to the test-taking process used with the SAT. The county school system now pays for all 10th grade students to take the PSAT test.

“The College Board is pleased to have the opportunity to work with Baltimore County Public Schools, a district that is investing time and resources in professional development for teachers and striving to provide rigorous courses of study for its students,” said Patricia J. Martin, Regional Executive Director of the Middle States Regional Office for The College Board. “We look forward to developing a plan for year two of our partnership which emphasizes continuous growth in participation and achievement for all students.”

The school system’s “Blueprint for Progress,” which was introduced by Dr. Hairston last year and approved by the Baltimore County Board of Education, provides a road map for future achievement. It establishes indicators specifying that all high schools will achieve verbal and math scores and participation rates that exceed the national mean scores.

Participation at 15 of the county’s 24 high schools exceeded the national rate. The overall county participation rate declined slightly this year – from 56% to 52% of eligible students taking the test, or 3,496 Baltimore County students in 2001 compared to 3,653 last year. Even so, the county’s participation rate remained well above the national rate.

The gains also shattered a trend in recent years of stagnant SAT scores in Baltimore County. Except for a modest jump in 1999, mean scores on both the math and verbal portions of the test had slowly eroded since 1993.

A closer look at Baltimore County’s SAT scores this year shows other promising signs. Fifteen of the 24 county high schools improved verbal scores, while 16 improved math scores on the test.

Throughout his first year as Superintendent, Dr. Hairston has repeatedly urged SAT improvements at those schools that traditionally have not recorded the highest scores in the county. Nearly all of the schools posting the largest gains were among that group, indicating that the SAT performance gap is narrowing among county schools.

The five high schools with the largest one-year improvements in verbal scores were Chesapeake (+41), Patapsco (+37), Kenwood (+36), Western (+23), and Lansdowne (+19). The five high schools that registered the largest one-year gains in math scores were Patapsco (+43), Kenwood (+41), Lansdowne (+37), Chesapeake (+32), and Catonsville (+30).

Baltimore County's SAT results were released today in conjunction with the release of state and national SAT scores.

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