- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BALTIMORE (AP) | Elementary- and middle-school students in Maryland have improved their scores on standardized tests for the seventh year in a row, state education officials said Tuesday.

Students are tested in reading and math in grades 3 through 8, and the results are used to measure whether schools are meeting federal standards. Scores on the tests administered this spring were up statewide in both subjects and at all grade levels except in fourth-grade reading, which saw a slight decrease.

And while Baltimore remains one of the state’s worst-performing school districts, its gains over the past two years were strong enough to attract the attention of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who spoke at a celebratory news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Duncan joined Gov. Martin O’Malley and other dignitaries at Abbotston Elementary, a small northeast Baltimore school, where every student was found to be proficient in reading and more than 90 percent were proficient in math. About 87 percent of students at Abbotston receive free or reduced-price meals, a measure of poverty.

“If it can happen in this school, why can’t it happen at every school in the city, at every school in the state and at every school in the country?” Mr. Duncan asked.

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