by Lisa Tome
The results are in and Rising Sun Middle School teachers and students have aced a test.
A year ago next month, teachers at the school administered the PARCC test. This test was given to then eighth grade students, now high school freshmen, who studied one semester of Algebra, then one semester of Geometry.
In March 2015, those taking a full year of Algebra, took the PARCC Algebra test. Of the 55-60 students who took the test, 100 percent passed. That's a rare accomplishment. All of the students are learning on an accelerated level.
"I hope we're not teaching for this test. I hope we are teaching the curriculum and as a result we're testing well," said Dale Amos, the school's Lead Mathematics Teacher.
Amos explained that the State of Maryland uses PARCC testing results to assess preparedness for college and career. The test is not the traditional multiple choice. "We had to get the students used to looking for more than one current answer," he said.
This group of students, some of whom started studying accelerated math as early as grade six, are earning high school credits for taking Algebra and Geometry in middle school. "Historically, our school has done well. We get the same kind of results on the High School Assessment. I think that says something about our teaching but also about our students and their families that push them to do better and better," said Amos.
Amos said that math teachers Barbara Mehr and Lichi Curtis are to be commended for their work. He also said that a host of others in the school help get students ready. "Math isn't just in math. It's in science and social studies," he said.
"We're going to keep doing what we're doing and will make changes as needed because every group of students is different," said Amos. "What worked last year may not work this year and we need to adapt. We are constantly making changes to meet their needs, interests, and learning styles. I get the sense of pride because we've done this on other assessments as well. They shine."