Under No Child Left Behind, schools that do not meet state defined achievement benchmarks in reading and math for two years in a row are deemed "in need of improvement." Students in that school must be given the option of transferring to another school in their district that is not identified for improvement. The following are excerpts from an article in today's Baltimore Sun drawing attention to the fact that nearly 400 schools in Maryland that did not meet state standards last year improved to meet them this year:
" Students across the state improved their test scores in this year's Maryland School Assessments, enabling nearly 400 schools that had been in academic trouble to avoid being designated as failures. Buoyed by the scores, 25 schools previously designated as failures earned their way off the list, state education officials said yesterday."
" 'Looking at what could have been and what isn't,' said state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, 'we are relieved and pleased. The majority of schools put on alert last year have come through with flying colors.' "
" All 24 Maryland districts improved their scores in this year's tests, which were given in February in reading and mathematics in grades three, five, eight and 10. ... Last year, 525 schools across the state failed to make adequate progress, and officials worried that the majority would lag again this year, making them eligible for the label 'in need of improvement.' "
" 'That didn't happen,' said Grasmick, noting that 388 of those schools made progress this year and thus avoided the failure tag. 'While we're not pleased that 84 schools didn't progress this year, literally hundreds more could have,' she said. 'Last year amounted to a wake-up call. Most of these schools looked seriously at their instructional programs and made substantial improvement.' "
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