More on the rising test scores
We've been theorizing a lot on the blog this week about what caused the jump in test scores this year in Baltimore in particular and in general statewide. Liz's story today offers a possible explanation: The tests this year were shorter and better aligned with the Maryland state curriculum, so students were likely less tired taking them and less likely to be presented with material they hadn't learned. But officials say the material tested was just as difficult as last year. And Dr. Alonso points out that Baltimore students still improved more than their peers in the rest of the state.
Meanwhile, an article in the current Education Week reports on two studies in New York City and Chicago that linked an increase in highly qualified teachers serving poor and minority children to better test scores there. While the article only examines those two cities (and Illinois in general), it suggests a trend in urban districts nationwide. Baltimore is one of a handful of systems lauded for aggressive recruitment programs in hard-to-staff areas. "Both studies show a shift in the long-observed trend that the most-qualified teachers appear to teach at the more affluent schools, while the poorest schools are usually staffed by teachers who are new or less qualified," the article says.