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County students struggle to rebound from pandemic

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Posted on: February 9, 2023

By Kit Slack

County children are struggling to catch up to pre-pandemic levels of achievement in math, according to data released, separately, by Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and Maryland in January.

In the fall of 2022, only 4% of middle and high school students in the county school system met expectations on grade level standards in math, according to a Jan. 23 presentation to the school board’s academic achievement committee.

This was a slight improvement from 3% for those age groups in fall 2021.

County data, presented by grade level, showed proficiency at its lowest among the county school system’s oldest students, with 26% of second graders meeting expectations in math, in contrast to 1% of 12th graders.

Dr. Judith White, the chief academic officer for PGCPS, explained that in middle and high school, test results reflect proficiency in particular math courses, like algebra or geometry, rather than overall mathematical competency.

For reading and writing, the picture is somewhat brighter, though challenges remain; about 23% of PGCPS high schoolers met expectations in the fall of 2022, a percentage that held steady from the fall of 2021.  

The data comes from a county benchmark test administered in each public school at least twice a year, beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

Maryland released data Jan. 24 for last school year which showed that while kids around the state had caught up to pre-pandemic proficiency in reading and writing, they had not done so in math. Statewide, mathematical proficiency for children grades 3 through 8 was 22% in the 2021-22 school year, down from 33% in the 2018-19 school year. 

Last school year, according to the same state data, 10% of PGCPS students grades 3 through 8 were proficient in math. Baltimore City was the only Maryland school district with a lower math proficiency rate, at 7%. 

The Maryland Department of Education plans to make school-by-school data available in February on reportcard.msde.maryland.gov. Prince George’s County is developing a parent portal for individual student assessments, set to launch in the next few months, according to the January presentation.

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