MSDE Education Bulletin, March 27, 2015

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     March 27, 2015                   | MSDE Home | Newsroom | | School Improvement |


Maryland students have led the nation in success on the Advanced Placement (AP) exams for nine consecutive years, according to new data from the College Board.

AP Logo

 The percentage of Maryland seniors who earned a score of 3 or higher on one or more AP exams broke 30 percent for the first time -- 31.8 percent in 2014.  That was more than a two percentage point increase over 29.6 percent reached in 2013.  A score of 3 or better is the threshold at which many higher education institutions award college credit for high school students on an AP assessment.  

The percentage of Maryland graduates scoring a 3 or higher on an AP test has increased 12.5 percent points from 19.3 percent in 2004.  That was the last year that Maryland did not rank number one in AP success.

In May 2014, Maryland high school students took nearly 80,000 AP exams that resulted in scores of 3, 4, or 5.  Based on students’ opportunity to earn at least three college credits for each exam scoring 3 or better, this represents an estimated 230,838 college credits and a potential savings of $67 million in credit hour costs, according to the College Board.

“We congratulate Maryland on its ongoing success in the AP and salute their work towards delivering opportunity to all students,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of AP and Instruction.

Connecticut again ranked second in success, with 30.8 percent of its seniors earning a 3 or higher, followed by Florida and Virginia -- both with 30.0 percent. The national average was 21.6 percent.

"Maryland schools are focused on preparing graduates for their next step, be it college or career, and the AP program provides students with a strong cornerstone for the future,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery. “Our students are making important progress, but there remains room for improvement. We must continue narrowing the gap in student achievement and make certain all students have access to getting great learning opportunities.”

The new statistics are included in AP cohort data the College Board recently released for the class of 2014.  The data release replaced “The AP Report to the Nation,” which the organization had published for the previous decade.

  • The College Board’s recent analysis of the college-level assessment program provides a variety of information on efforts taking place in Maryland schools.  For example:•           More than half of all Maryland high school graduates take at least one AP exam while in high school, and that tally has nearly doubled over the past decade.  In 2004, 28.9 percent of Maryland graduates had taken at least one AP exam during their high school career.  By 2014, 50.9 percent of seniors were taking at least one of the rigorous exams.  Only the District of Columbia (60.2 percent) and Florida (57.2 percent) had a higher rate of participation.

  • The number of African American seniors who have taken an AP exam and received a grade of 3 or better has tripled since 2004.  Just 716 African American seniors had received a grade of 3 or better in 2004; by 2014 that number had increased to 2,411.
  • The number of Hispanic seniors receiving a 3 or better on an AP test has more than tripled over the same time period.  While 589 Hispanic students received a 3 or better on at least one AP exam in 2004, the number reached 1,705 in 2014.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program, which began in 1955, allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Students of different interests and backgrounds can choose from more than 30 courses to demonstrate their knowledge of rigorous academic curriculum.  


The Maryland State Department of Education today nominated two schools and one local school system for the U.S. Department of Education’s 2015 Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) Award.

The Howard County Public School System was nominated for a Green Ribbon.

The two schools nominated are: Northwest High School (Montgomery County Public Schools) and J. C. Parks Elementary School (Charles County Public Schools).  The Howard County Public School System was nominated for the district award.  All applications for the award were evaluated by a committee comprised of staff from State and national government agencies, State and regional environmental organizations, and private businesses.

Maryland schools have been at the leading edge in their commitment to environmental education and to practices that will sustain our world for future generations,” said State Superintendent Lillian M. Lowery.  “These nominees represent the great work taking place throughout our State.”

Education agencies in 41 states and territories, in collaboration with the U.S Department of Education, are participating in the fourth year of the GRS award program.  Maryland schools have received national honors during each year of the program.

Federal officials will recognize schools that save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness, and offer environmental education to boost academic achievement and community engagement. The recognition award is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices proven to result in improved student engagement, academic achievement, graduation rates, and workforce preparedness, as well as a government-wide aim to increase energy independence and economic security.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is scheduled to announce the recipients of the GRS awards on Earth Day, April 22.

A few words from State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery

Lillian M Lowery

State Superintendent of Schools 
Lillian M. Lowery

Great teachers make all the difference for students.  The Maryland State Board of Education this week welcomed one of the best: Margaret Hawk, first grade teacher at Yellow Springs Elementary in Frederick County, Maryland’s 2014-15 Milken National Educator.

Maggie’s spirit was infectious.  We all wanted to be students in her class.

Maggie Hawk and Dr. Theresa Alban, State Board Presentation on March 24, 2015

Frederick County Superintendent Theresa Alban may have said it best.  “You feel the magic in her classroom,” she said, adding that students who spend time in Maggie Hawk’s classroom end up believing they are capable of anything.

Some of those students want to join in Maggie’s footsteps and become teachers.  We hope that turns out to be true!

The Milken Foundation has been a wonderful partner, working with Maryland schools for the past 22 years.  Each Milken National Educator receives $25,000 and a variety of professional development experiences.  Over the past 22 years, the Milken Foundation has contributed $1.475 million to Maryland teachers.

 * * *

The nonprofit Maryland CASH (Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope) Campaign, Maryland Council on Economic Education (MCEE), joined MSDE this month in announcing the winners of the second annual Financial Education and Capability Awards. The 2015 award winners are:

  • Florence Falatko, 5th Grade Teacher, Cromwell Valley Elementary School (Baltimore County), Elementary School Teacher Award
  • Cheryl Crow, 8th Grade Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Specialist, Severna Park Middle School (Anne Arundel County), Middle School Teacher Award
  • Susan Baudoin, Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, Parkdale High School (Prince George's County), High School Teacher Award
  • Steven Fennington, Vice President of Business Development, Frederick County Bank, Community Champion Award

The Financial Education and Capability Awards Program highlights the dedication and success of public school teachers and community champions who deliver financial education. Financial education focuses on a range of financial management concepts and behaviors including budgeting, careers and income, credit, savings, financial decision-making, and understanding values and habits about money.  We appreciate the support of OneMain Financial and The Woodside Foundation for their generous sponsorship of the $1,000 financial awards.

Awards will be highlighted during the regular 8pm session of the Maryland General Assembly on March 30, 2015 in Annapolis.

Video Highlights

Board News, February 24, 2015

February 27, 2015

Maryland's Board hears an analysis of the Teacher Principal Evaluation System after its first full year of implementation. Also, a survey about Student Learning Objectives, and the PARCC tests now starting!

Windows Media Version        QuickTime Version         MP4 Version

MSDE Video Highlights
MSDE Video Highlights


April 13 - Close of the 2015 Maryland General Assembly Session

April 17 - Teachers of Promise, BWI Marriott, Linthicum

April 23 - FBLA Maryland Conference, Hunt Valley Inn, Cockeysville

April 28 - Maryland State Board of Education meeting, Baltimore

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