March 9 saw the release of the 2022 Maryland School Report Card, which is designed to help stakeholders measure student achievement in public schools throughout the state. In schools of the upper and mid-shore—Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot Counties—children’s Math and English Language Arts results were commendable for the most part. Nonetheless, some real challenges exist as well.
As communities around Maryland begin using the metric as an important data point, the Spy was eager to help our readers understand the history of the Maryland School Report Card and how to decipher yearly results.
On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal K-12 education law that replaced No Child Left Behind. The ESSA laid out expectations of transparency for parents and communities and required every state to develop a concise and easily understandable “state report card” accessible online.
Each state submitted a consolidated plan detailing how the law would be implemented as well as how the state would hold schools accountable for student performance. In Maryland, parents, school personnel, superintendents, community leaders, advocacy groups, the Board of Education, and MSDE staff collaborated to create an accountability system that measured relevant, actionable aspects of school performance. The plan was submitted to the US Department of Education and approved in early 2018.
The first Maryland School Report Card was released later that year. The state was able to produce two years of report card school results (2018 and 2019) before the pandemic hit.
What’s in the Card
Each school has a report card that includes a star rating (one is lowest, five is highest), percentile rank, and total earned points percent. The data also includes student group separation of report card indicators, equity information, progress toward meeting targets to close achievement gaps, and improvement from the previous report card.
On average, a five-star school has a Math proficiency of 53.8% and an ELA proficiency of 71.8%. In a one-star school, Math proficiency is 1.1% while ELA proficiency is 6.3%.
Maryland Results Overall
Of the state’s 1,316 schools, 16% had five-star ratings, 32% had four-star ratings, 33% had three-star ratings, 16% had two-star ratings, and 3% had one-star ratings. This means that almost half of Maryland schools earned four or five stars.
Scores for the Mid-Shore
Among the twelve schools in Queen Anne’s County (7,440 students), 8% earned three stars while 58% earned four stars and 33% earned five stars. QAPS’s proficiency results were:
Elementary – 44.9% Math, 57.2% ELA
Middle – 23.8% Math, 59.1% ELA
High – 39.9% Math, 47.6% ELA
The eight schools in Talbot County (4,533 students) earned five stars (13%), four stars (50%), and three stars (38%). TCPS’s proficiency results were:
Elementary – 23% Math, 43% ELA
Middle – 13% Math, 39.9% ELA
High – 22.3% Math, 56.2% ELA
Caroline County’s nine public schools (5,551 students) earned either four stars (33%) or three stars (67%). CCPS’s proficiency results were:
Elementary – 24.6% Math, 44.1% ELA
Middle – 13.9% Math, 36.9% ELA
High – 21.7% Math, 46.7% ELA
The five schools in Kent County (1,786 students) earned either four stars (40%) or three stars (60%). KCPS’s proficiency results were:
Elementary – 20.5% Math, 35.4% ELA
Middle – 8.2% Math, 34.9% ELA
High – 21.4% Math, 48.4% ELA
In Dorchester County’s eleven schools (4,573 students), 27% earned four stars, 27% earned three stars, 36% earned two stars, and 9% earned one star. DCPS’s proficiency results were:
Elementary – 16.4% Math, 29.2% ELA
Middle – 9.4% Math, 27.8% ELA
High – 13.2% Math, 42.8% ELA
While Talbot County had the best graduation rate at 95%, it had fewer students enrolled than did Queen Anne’s, whose rate was 94.21%. The other rates were as follows: 92.65% for Kent, 85.21% for Caroline, and 81.57% for Dorchester.
Overall, Queen Anne’s County Public Schools displayed the highest performance of the counties analyzed, but second-place Talbot County saw improvement in English Language Arts scores since the last report card. Kent County also showed improvement in ELA, as did Dorchester County, the only one of the five to earn one or two stars (45%). However, DCPS significantly trailed everyone else, whose scores in both ELA and Math were in line with the state average.