State Moves to Star Rating to Present Public School Performance

The Maryland State Department of Education has released its latest version of a school performance and accountability plan, which now assigns each school between one and five stars based on various indicators that are to help measure how schools are doing.

The 2018-19 Maryland Report Card, released on Dec. 4, compiles and reports data, such as student success and growth on state tests in English Language Arts and mathematics, and factors in students’ progress in achieving English language proficiency, as well as chronic absenteeism, high school graduate rates, and access to a “well-rounded” curriculum. MSDE referred to the report card as “the most complete picture of school and school performance in state history.”

Karen Salmon, state superintendent of schools, said the report card is a major improvement and has a goal to improve every school.

“The new Maryland Report Card will help parents, educators, policymakers, and the general public gain a better understanding about how each school is doing based on our accountability measures,” Salmon said in a statement.

Schools receive points based on their results of performance indicators, and are given an overall star rating. The summary tallies the school’s total earned points percent and issues a rating from 1 to 5 stars; the Percentile Rank, which is how a school performed in comparison to other schools in the category; and the Total Earned Points Percent, which is the total number of points earned by the school across the measures, divided by the total possible points.

The new Maryland Report Card, is based on the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability plan. ESSA, which was signed into law in 2015, succeeded the No Child Left Behind Act in governing state school improvement plans.

ESSA prompted states to develop long term plans to improve schools through accountability and innovation. The Maryland State Board of Education plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in early 2018.

According to BCPS, 60 percent of its 160 schools earned 4 or 5 stars, and nearly 90 percent earned 3, 4 or 5 stars. Elementary schools did well, with 22 earning 5 stars, 44 earning 4 stars, and 28 earning 3 stars.

“While we are pleased that our school system, overall, compared favorably with others in the state,” Interim Superintendent Verletta White said, “we are fully engaged in elevating the performance of all schools – through our budget process, staffing, curriculum development, support services, professional development, and community partnerships. We are working to ensure that all of our schools are high-performing schools in the eyes of their communities and according to the data.”

Detailed report cards for all Maryland schools, including BCPS schools, are available on the state’s Report Card website at