Maryland

‘Incredibly Concerning': Maryland Students' Math Skills Drop Significantly, Data Shows

Latino and Hispanic middle school students experienced the greatest drop in math proficiency, according to data from the Maryland Department of Education

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New data from the Maryland Department of Education shows middle school students' math proficiency dropped significantly, especially among Hispanic and Latino students.

The education department released its first statewide school report card since 2019, which shows math levels for all middle school students in 2019 and in 2022.

In Montgomery County, math proficiency decreased by 19% for all middle schoolers, and there was a 7.2% drop in math proficiency in Prince George's County schools.

No other demographic was impacted more than Hispanic and Latino students.

Neary 19% of Montgomery County's Hispanic/Latino middle schoolers were proficient in math in 2019, but that number fell sharply to 7.1% in 2022.

In Prince George's County, 11.3% of Hispanic/Latino middle schoolers were proficient in math, but 5.7% were proficient in 2022.

“It’s incredibly concerning because math is such a foundational subject," Montgomery County Board of Education President Karla Silvestre said.

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Silvestre said many Latino students might not have had adequate support while learning virtually, and language barriers made it more difficult for some parents to help out.

“Online learning, especially for the youngest learners, didn’t work as we had hoped and now we’re seeing that as these kids move into middle school,” Silvestre said.

The issue hits close to home for the student member of Prince George’s County's Board of Education, Alvaro Ceron-Ruiz.

“I express the same concerns that Latino students are not meeting the state's mark at the younger grade levels and think we desperately need to mitigate this issue," Ceron-Ruiz said in a statement. "A piece of information that helped my heavy heart after learning about this was that though these numbers show that at younger ages our students aren't exactly meeting the mark, in high schools, Latino students are the group that is best performing in AP classes.”

Educators say one issue is that many younger students are struggling to grasp basic concepts that allow them to learn more advanced math.

“We have to be able to not only teach them what they’re supposed to learn this year, but also catch them up, and that’s tricky. That's, that’s complicated. Our teachers need support in order to be able to do that.”

Silvestre says a big chunk of this year’s budget is focused on helping students catch up by providing tutoring. But she says it will take a strong collective effort from faculty, teachers, parents and county leaders to get students back on track.

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