Maryland – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on analysis of Maryland’s plan approved by the US ED on January 16, 2018.

State Highlights: Expectations for College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators. Maryland includes the following college- and career-readiness expectations in its plan.

  1. School performance indicators for high schools
    • School quality or student success indicator. ESSA requires states to set an indicator for school quality or student success, which can but does not have to include such measures as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. Maryland’s indicator of school quality or student success accounts for college and career readiness with measures of high school students’ access to a well-rounded curriculum, as indicated by the percentage of students graduating or exiting who have enrolled in an AP course, IB course, dual credit course, or career and technical education concentration. For students with special needs pursuing a Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion, this is indicated by the percentage of students enrolling in a general education core academic and/or elective course.
    • Indicator of readiness for postsecondary success. Maryland also includes an indicator of postsecondary success although it is not required by ESSA. This indicator awards points to schools for the percentage of students meeting the following criteria.
      • Ninth-graders earning at least four course credits in English language arts, math, science, social studies or world languages
      • Students graduating or exiting and achieving any of the following.
        • AP exam score of 3 or higher, IB exam score of 4 or higher, SAT exam scores of 530 in math and 480 in reading or higher, or ACT exam composite score of 21 or higher
        • Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam score (minimum score to be determined)
        • Earning dual enrollment credit
        • Meeting University of Maryland entry requirements
        • Completing a career and technical education apprenticeship, industry certification, or career and technology program
        • Attaining a seal of biliteracy in a world language
      • Students with special needs obtaining a Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion and entering the world of work through gainful employment, postsecondary education and training, support employment and/or other services that are integrated in the community.

Read about these expectations below in the profile.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation rates and English language proficiency for English learners.

Maryland established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • By 2030, 70 percent of students will be proficient on Maryland’s English language arts assessment, and 67 percent will be proficient on the math assessment.
  • By 2030, the percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – not reaching proficiency on annual state assessments will decline by 50 percent.

Graduation rate

  • By 2020, 88 percent of students will graduate from high school in four years, and 90 percent will graduate in five years.  

English language proficiency

  • By 2030, 73 percent of English learners will reach proficiency on the state English language proficiency assessment within six years of receiving services.

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators that states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate in these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

Maryland established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

Academic achievement: Proficiency rate and average performance on state English language arts and math assessments – Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC

English language proficiency: Percentage of students making progress towards English proficiency on state English language proficiency assessment – WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

School quality or student success

  • Attendance – rates of chronic absenteeism
  • School climate – survey
  • Access to a well-rounded curriculum
    • Percentage of fifth-graders enrolled in science, social studies, fine arts, physical education and health
    • Percentage of eighth-graders enrolled in fine arts, physical education, health and computational learning
    • Percentage of high school students graduating and having enrolled in an AP course, IB course, dual credit course, or a career and technical education concentration
    • Percentage of high school students with special needs pursuing a Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion and enrolling in a general education core academic and/or elective course 

Elementary and middle grades

Other academic indicator

  • Student growth on state English language arts and math assessments – PARCC
  • Completion of a well-rounded curriculum
    • Percentage of fifth-graders passing a social studies, fine arts, physical education and health course
    • Percentage of eighth-graders passing an English language arts, math, social studies and science course
    • Proficiency rate on the Maryland Integrated Science Assessment beginning in 2018-19
    • Proficiency rate on the Middle School Social Studies Assessment beginning in 2020-21

High schools

Graduation rate

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
  • Five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

Readiness for postsecondary success

  • Percentage of ninth-graders earning at least four course credits in English language arts, math, science, social studies or world languages  
  • Percentage of high school students graduating and achieving any of the following.
    • AP exam score of 3 or higher, IB exam score of 4 or higher, SAT exam scores of 530 in math and 480 in reading or higher, or ACT exam composite score of 21 or higher
    • Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam score (minimum score to be determined)
    • Earning dual enrollment credit
    • Meeting University of Maryland entry requirements
    • Completing a career and technical education apprenticeship, industry certification, or career and technology program
    • Attaining a seal of biliteracy in a world language
  • Percentage of high school students with special needs obtaining a Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion and entering the world of work through gainful employment, postsecondary education and training, support employment and/or other services that are integrated in the community

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

Maryland established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups.

Framework for differentiating schools in Maryland

On an annual basis, schools will receive a numeric score for each indicator. Schools will then receive an overall score (100 possible points), based on the sum of the indicator scores, which will be translated to a percentile rank of schools statewide by elementary/middle and high levels. Additionally, they will receive an overall one- to five-star overall rating, based on their percentile rank.

Weights assigned to each indicator in Maryland

Weights assigned to each indicator in Maryland - Elementary and Middle Grades (35% Other Academic Indicator / 35% School Quality or Student Success / 20% Academic Achievement / 10% English Language Proficiency Progress) and High Schools (35% School Quality or Student Success / 30% Academic Achievement / 15% Graduation Rate / 10% Readiness for Postsecondary Success  / 10% English Language Proficiency Progress)

Note. For high schools, the four-year graduation rate is weighted at 10 percent, and the five-year rate is weighted at 5 percent.

Student subgroups in Maryland

  • Subgroups: For state accountability, Maryland will focus on 10 student subgroups – economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners, American Indian or Alaska native students, Asian students, black students, Hispanic or Latino students, native Hawaiian or Pacific islander students, students of two or more races, and white students. Maryland’s plan states that Maryland intends to take steps to add gifted and talented students as an additional student subgroup. For reporting purposes only, Maryland will include three additional subgroups – homeless students, military-affiliated students and students in foster care.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the threshold of 10 students (n-count) for any of the subgroups for an indicator, the school will not be held accountable for performance on that indicator. For the graduation rate indicator only, Maryland will use an n-count of 30 students.
  • Use of subgroup data in school ratings: Maryland uses subgroup performance data to identify schools for targeted support and improvement (TSI, see below) and publicly reports subgroup performance data for each indicator, as required by ESSA. Additionally, Maryland provides information about subgroup performance by reporting an equity gap percentage for each subgroup and indicator and an overall school designation of whether schools met state equity targets.

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

Maryland established the following identification and exit criteria, and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    • CSI schools: Identified at least once every three years beginning in 2018-19, schools that meet any of these criteria based on all indicators in the accountability system.
      • Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide, based on all student performance on each indicator, using two years of data
      • Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide identified previously using 2015-16 data for federal school improvement grant (SIG) IV funding, which extends through 2020-21
    • CSI high schools: Identified at least once every three years beginning in 2018-19, using two years of available data, all public high schools failing to graduate one-third or more of their students
    • TSI schools: Identified at least once every three years beginning in 2021-22, Title I schools with a chronically low-performing student subgroup

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    State will help local education agencies support their schools by:

    • Conducting a needs assessment, root cause analysis and resource allocation review
    • Monitoring and evaluating the use of improvement funds through reporting and monthly site visits
    • Providing technical assistance with leadership, talent development, instruction and transforming school culture
    • Reviewing and approving local education agency-developed action plans
    • Providing a resource repository of evidence-based strategies
    • Identifying vetted and required English language arts and math curriculum, providing training on the curriculum and monitoring implementation fidelity of curriculum
    • Providing required leadership training programs for principals, assistant principals and teacher leaders
    • Providing support to identify a network of partners and community resources

    After three years, for schools that have not exited CSI status, the state will work with external stakeholders to conduct a root cause analysis, revise the action plan and determine more rigorous interventions, including staffing, scheduling and programmatic changes.

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After three years, schools can exit CSI status by:

      • No longer meeting the CSI identification criteria, meeting school-developed and state-approved improvement targets for two consecutive years
      • Sustaining a high school four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate higher than 67 percent for at least two years
      • Meeting annual targets for all chronically low-performing subgroups, and having no subgroups performing below all students in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools, for two consecutive years
      • Developing a sustainability plan
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        • TSI schools: Identified annually beginning in 2019-20, any school with a “consistently underperforming” student subgroup that does not meet its annual interim targets on each indicator for two years
        • Additional TSI schools: Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, any school with a “low-performing” student subgroup that is performing below all students in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools on all indicators

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          State will help local education agencies support their schools by:

          • Identifying resources for needs assessment and root cause analysis
          • Monitoring and evaluating the use of improvement funds through reporting and monthly site visits
          • Providing technical assistance with turnaround leadership, talent development, instruction and transforming school culture  
          • Providing a resource repository of evidence-based strategies
          • Providing optional professional learning for school leaders
          • Providing support to identify a network of partners and community resources

          After two years, schools that fail to exit TSI status will be subject to more rigorous interventions determined by their local education agency.

          Criteria for exiting this category

            After two years, schools can exit TSI status by:

            • No longer meeting identification criteria, and meeting school-developed and local education agency-approved improvement targets for two consecutive years
            • Developing a sustainability plan
            Other categories of schools

            Non-Title I schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide

              Identified every three years beginning in 2018-19, non-Title I schools within the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools, based on all indicators in the state accountability system, will receive the following from the state:

              • Differentiated support to be determined by identified school needs and available resources

              This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.