Changes in Maryland’s Accountability Program Highlighted in Annual Presentation
The Allegany County Board of Education received an annual academic performance update at the October work session in which they heard explanations of various changes to Maryland’s accountability program, which focuses on the principle of state-developed differentiated recognition, accountability and support.
With the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 nearing its 2014 target of 100% proficient, the United States Education Department has permitted flexibility for waivers to states, local education agencies (LEAs) and schools in an effort to better focus on improving educational outcomes, closing achievement gaps, and increasing the quality of instruction. Maryland’s new accountability program incorporates three unique areas which include Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) Progress, School Progress Index and Differentiated Recognition.
Under the new accountability program, AMO Progress requires the state, LEAs and schools to reduce by half the percentage of students in the “all students” group and in each subgroup who are not proficient within six years or by 2017. 2012 data from the MSA reading and math tests are analyzed to determine if targets are met. Each LEA and school now has individual and unique targets (AMOs) which are specific to them.
The next area of Maryland’s new accountability program is the School Progress Index (SPI). When calculated, the SPI will be a number around one that will place schools into “strands” ranging from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest. At the elementary and middle school levels, the SPI is comprised of Achievement, Growth and Gap Reduction. At the high school level, the SPI looks at Achievement, Gap Reduction and College & Career Readiness.
Differentiated Recognition, the third area of the new accountability program, allows Title I schools to be identified as reward, priority or focus schools. Allegany County has two reward schools, Flintstone Elementary and Cash Valley Elementary, and both have been identified as “High Performing Reward Schools.” This classification, based on 2011 MSA results, indicates that these schools have met the AMOs for all subgroups for two consecutive years, have a 10% or less achievement gap between students in subgroups and the rest of the students body. Being a High Performing Reward School indicates that they are in the top 10% of Title I schools and made the maximum amount of improvement in student performance on MSA tests.
According to Superintendent of Schools, Dr. David Cox, “I am proud of our students, teachers, and educational leaders for all of their hard work that continues to result in our improved academic performance.” He went on to say, “As always, our commitment continues to be raising all of our students up to higher levels of achievement and focusing our efforts in making all of our students college and career ready.”
Scores on the SAT exam registered a decline in Allegany County, in the State of Maryland and across the nation. Allegany County’s composite SAT score fell to 1478 on a 2400 point scale. Allegany County students scored a 497 in critical reading (down 6 points), 495 in math (down 5 points) and 486 in writing (down 8 points). As compared to state scores, Allegany County students scored the same as students across the state in reading and slightly lower in math and writing.
Limited statewide, system, and local school data is available on the Maryland State Department of Education’s report card website at www.mdreportcard.org.