MSDE Education Bulletin, November 3, 2016

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     November 3, 2016                | MSDE Home | Newsroom | | School Improvement |


Maryland student scores improved at both the fourth and eighth grade level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science exams for 2016. 

NAEP logo

Data released last week also found State students outpacing the national averages at the eighth grade level, and on par with national averages at the fourth grade level.

“Maryland continues to put a focus on STEM education, and these results indicate our efforts are gaining real traction,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools.  “With stronger, nationally developed science standards being implemented throughout our State, I look for this positive trend to continue.”

NAEP, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, added science to its battery of voluntary tests several years ago.  The 2015 test was the third administration of the eighth grade test that a sample of Maryland students have been involved in, and the second time a sample Maryland fourth graders have been assessed.  NAEP also offers a 12th grade science test, but Maryland schools have not participated in that assessment. 

NAEP is a congressionally authorized project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education through the National Center for Education Statistics. 

The grade level results are as follows:

  • Grade 4 Science – Maryland scores improved from 150 in 2009 to 153 in 2015.  The national average also is 153.  Asian students had an average score of 175; African-American students, 133; Hispanic students, 145; and White students, 167.  Male students averaged 154, compared to 151 for female students, a difference not considered statistically significant.

  • Grade 8 Science – Maryland scores improved from 149 in 2009 and 152 in 2011 to 155 in 2015, above the national average of 153.  Asian students had an average score of 179; African-American students, 135; Hispanic students, 145; and White students, 168.  Male and female students both averaged 155.


Maryland wants to make certain a higher percentage of the State’s working population has the benefit of postsecondary education.  MSDE and the Maryland Higher Education Commission--in partnership with the American Council on Education--last month sponsored the Maryland College Application Campaign (MCAC).

MCAC’s goal is to increase the number of students who are applying to college early in their senior year, particularly those from families that have never attended college or may be from low socio-economic circumstances. Maryland is implementing a comprehensive and supportive process that culminates in students’ acceptance into a postsecondary institution.  Dozens of high schools in 18 Maryland school systems took part in MCAC.

State Superintendent Salmon visited Mardela Middle and High School in Wicomico County to help promote the Maryland College Admissions Campaign.
State Superintendent Salmon visited Mardela Middle and High School in Wicomico County to help promote the Maryland College Admissions Campaign.

“The Maryland College Application Campaign recognizes that education beyond high school is critical for both our high school graduates and Maryland employers,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools.  “For many careers, an Associate’s Degree is an entry level credential. It is essential that more students take advantage of that golden opportunity.”

During MCAC, students received special assistance when applying to any of Maryland’s community colleges, independent colleges, private career schools, and public universities.  The initiative included working with staff from the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (Gear-Up) program and school counselors to prepare students for the rigorous college application process.  It also establishes a formal partnership with College Goal Maryland to assist with completing financial aid applications.

College Goal Maryland staff and volunteers will continue to help students through March, providing guided assistance in completing Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.  In addition, professionals working with College Goal Maryland will assist parents/guardians and students in understanding financial aid resources, the financial aid application process, and how to access information regarding statewide student services and admission requirements.

MCAC is part of American College Application week, which takes place nationwide.  In 2014, Maryland piloted the effort with 21 high schools representing seven local school systems. By last year, participation had grown to 52 schools in 14 systems.

This year’s participation marked a new record, with 118 schools participating from the following systems: Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary, Talbot, Washington, and Wicomico.

The MCAC process culminates with participating high schools holding College Decision Day events in May.  Maryland plans to implement this initiative statewide.


The second annual Maryland STEM Festival begins this week and continues through November 13.  The festival includes scores of events in every corner of our State.

The Maryland STEM Festival provides inspirational, educational, and accessible programming in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics throughout Maryland.  Through 10 days of collaborative, interactive, and dynamic events and activities throughout the state, the Festival displays Maryland’s STEM success and further connects the current and future leaders in STEM.

The Festival provides STEM opportunities to all of Maryland without requiring them to travel significant distances.  Have a look at the festival website:

A Few Words from State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen B. Salmon

State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen B. Salmon


State Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Karen B. Salmon

Maryland has always been an import state for teachers: our colleges and universities simply do not produce enough new educators to meet the demands of our school systems.  But a new MSDE report finds that our schools may have an even more difficult time filling their vacancies in the coming years.

All 24 of our school systems have projected shortages, according to the 2016-18 Teacher Staffing Report.  Some of the shortage areas are chronic, such as computer science, physics, and special education.  But other shortage areas are new, such as biology and art.

The State Board last week declared a host of content areas as areas of critical shortage.  In addition, our schools need more male teachers and teachers who are members of minority groups.

It is clear that we need to identify new ways to recruit students into our profession.  We need to further explore alternative pathways to certification, and we need to work with our high school students to get them interested in education as a career. 

Video Highlights

2016 Teacher of the Year Gala

2016 Teacher of the Year Gala

Teachers of the Year from all 24 Maryland school systems gather in Baltimore for the annual Teacher of the year gala. It's a night that honors educators, with the winner named Maryland 2016-17 Teacher of the Year.


November 4-13 - Maryland STEM Festival.

November 30 - Maryland Business Roundtable Annual Meeting, Baltimore.

December 5 - Maryland State Board of Education Meeting, Baltimore

In the News

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Maryland Looks for Solutions to Teacher Shortage