MCPS students are scoring higher on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) tests for critical reading and math skills. The percentage of African American 3rd graders scoring at proficient or higher in reading rose to 78 in 2010 from 48 in 2003, and the percentage of 3rd grade Latino students hitting that mark increased to 79 from 40 over the same period. For math, the percentage of African American 3rd graders at proficient or higher for the MSA test rose to 79 in 2010 from 56 in 2003, and the percentage of Latino 3rd graders reaching that benchmark increased to 80 from 57. The gap has narrowed, even as the percentage of white 3rd graders scoring at proficient or higher in reading and math has also increased – to 95 from 83 for reading and to 96 from 89 for math. Scores for Asian American students have increased, too, closely mirroring the trend for white students.
At the 8th grade level, the share of African American and Latino students registering at proficient or above on the MSA reading and math tests also has increased significantly. The gap between the percentage of white and African American 8th graders scoring at proficient in reading and math has narrowed, as has the gap between the percentage of white and Latino students reaching that level – even as the share of white students scoring at proficient or above has increased. That said, the gap remains large for 8th grade math. And for all these MSA tests – 3rd and 8th grade reading and math –smaller shares of African American and Latino students than white students are registering at the advanced levels.