Reading scores were up for students last year in Montgomery County, Maryland, but math scores missed their performance target, reflecting what is being seen across the country.
“We’ve seen some things that tell us a bit more about how our students have been impacted by the pandemic,” Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight said. “We’ve seen some growth in literacy across the board. And we’ve seen some decline in math, and specifically at the secondary level.”
Academic data presented Thursday to the county’s board of education showed that roughly 72% of students met literacy standards, exceeding Montgomery County Public Schools’ target of 66%.
But for math, 61% of students met the county’s math standards, just short of its goal of 64%.
The school system’s Evidence of Learning report collects data on students’ math and literacy proficiency at a few specific grades — second, fifth, eighth and 11th — and compared scores from the 2021 to 2022 school year to those collected after the 2020 to 2021 school year.
Elementary school students showed improvements in both literacy and math.
Reading scores for second and fifth graders increased by 13% and 11%, respectively. A significant portion of those who improved were Latino students, as well as “Emergent Multilingual Learners” who typically speak a different language at home.
Math scores for second graders also improved considerably (11%) while fifth graders showed more modest gains (2%).
Middle Schoolers seemed to suffer the most in their math scores. Eighth graders’ math scores dropped by 13%, with only 46% of them meeting the county’s combined measures.
11th graders math scores also had a 2% decrease compared to the 2020 to 2021 school year.
Literacy scores, for older students however, ticked up slightly. Eighth graders recorded a 3% increase, and 11th graders a 2% increase.
“We did have a very disruptive year let’s not forget. We had a lot of students out, we had attendance issues we have it was not a normal year, to say the least,” Karla Silvestre, the county’s school board vice president, said. “I’m not making excuses. I’m just reminding ourselves.”
In a memorandum sent to board members, the school system said secondary math will require the strongest actions to improve student performance.
The secondary math team will analyze the data. Additionally, the math team will develop a learning progression for middle and high school content specialists as well as resource teachers.