by Liam Kennedy ‘19
Sherwood earned four out of five stars on the new Maryland State Department of Education Accountability Report Card. Out of 90 possible points, Sherwood earned 63.5 of them, netting 70 percent of possible points and being ranked in the 70th percentile throughout the entire state. Sherwood was also ranked the seventh highest out of all MCPS high schools on the report card.
The report card, an accountability model designed in accordance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a successor of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), was released on December 4, and measures school success in various aspects of both academic achievements and overall school environment. Even though the report card was released in the middle of the year, Principal Eric Minus still finds the information provided by the report card to be helpful at this time. “Since the School Improvement Process is cyclical in nature and is supposed be revisited throughout the year,” Minus stated, “we can use components of this data to help inform us about our direction as a school.”
The grading of the report card is different for each type of school. For high schools, the scores are a cumulation of points from five categories: Academic Achievement, Graduation Rate, Progress in Achieving English Language Proficiency, Readiness for Post-Secondary Success, and School Quality and Student Success. Each category is worth a different amount of points, and are based on a set of data points like PARCC test results and the percent of students enrolled in a well-rounded curriculum.
Due to some shortcomings of the report card, MCPS has created its own Equity Accountability Model, which goes more in-depth into reporting all students’ performance, and refrains from ranking schools. The Board of Education believed that the Maryland State report card was limited in its actual evaluation of each school, relying on only a few pieces of data. “Like anything else, accountability must be used in a way that supports the growth of an organization and its people based on multiple measures, and not as an isolated data point,” said Minus. The shared belief within MCPS is that while federal and state governments should have public school standards, education is ultimately a local responsibility.
While MCPS’s model monitors all student progress, it specifically focuses on five different groups of students: Hispanic and Latino students who require Free and Reduced Price Meals (FARMS), Black or African American students who require FARMS, all other students who require FARMS, Hispanic and Latino students who do not require FARMS, and Black or African American students who do not require FARMS. Math and literacy scores are recorded for each of these focus groups, in addition to the scores of all other groups of students. In addition to these, the model provides information regarding components similar to the state report card, but instead of being released all at once, different categories are released at different times throughout the year.