by Geoff Fox
The Maryland Department of Education posted their new Maryland Report Cards containing performance data for the public schools in the state, including Washington County Public Schools.
The data reflecting WCPS performance in the report card shows 14 schools earned the highest ranking of five stars. Twenty-one schools, including both Hancock Elementary and Hancock Middle-Senior High School, earned four stars.
With a percentage at 87.5%, that ranks Washington County seventh in the state for percentage of schools performing at the two highest levels.
The data from the School Report Card and other information about schools and school districts is accessible to the public at www.mdreportcard.org.
The report cards show how schools scored on Maryland’s new school accountability measures.
Elementary and middle schools earned points for academic achievement, academic progress, the progress of students who are learning the English language and various other measures of school quality and student success.
High schools earn points for academic achievement, graduation rate, progress of students learning the English language, graduation rate, college and career readiness and various other measures of school quality and student success.
Those points determine the schools’ overall ratings, ranging from one to five stars, and their percentile rankings, which compare schools to one another.
In a press release, Superintendent Dr. Boyd Michael said the county’s goal is for all students and schools to achieve at their highest potential on both academic and non-academic measures.
“I am proud of our students and staff for the hard work and focus needed to achieve these results,” he said in the release.
The report cards show specific areas of strength and where improvement is needed.
Michael said he encourages parents and others to explore the new Maryland Report Card website.
Hancock Elementary earned four stars on the report card with 53.5 total earned points out of a possible 75 points. That gave the elementary school total 71% total earned percent.
Principal Michelle Gest said with that percentage, her school performed better than 71% of the elementary schools in Maryland and it’s the higher end of the four-star ranking, which is 60% to 75%.
Hancock Elementary was graded on academic achievement, academic progress, and school quality and student success. Achieving English language proficiency was not part of the grade due to no students fitting that particular area.
For academic achievement, Hancock Elementary scored 10 points out of a possible 20. In the academic progress, the schools scored 22.5 points out of a possible 30. Gest said that score helped the overall score.
Hancock Elementary scored 21 out of 25 points in the school quality and student success section.
Something new the state is tracking is a student being chronically absent. Hancock Elementary scored 85.4% of students not chronically absent.
Students who miss 18 days or more during a school year, whether those are excused or unexcused, would be considered chronically absent, Gest said.
A survey given to students in grades five and up, as well to all staff members, would add points to the totals, too. However, those surveys were not used this year and didn’t factor into the report card this year.
There was also a percent of students “proficient” or higher in science to earn points, but like the survey, didn’t factor into the report card but will be next year.
Principals were unable to discuss the report card outside of providing facts that were on the website, but Gest said Hancock Elementary is shooting for a five-star rating next year.
Gest did say a letter from the Board of Education was sent home for parents that contained the link to the report card.
Hancock Middle-Senior High School earned a total of 95.3 points out of a possible 153 points for a 62% total earned percent.
The total points earned and percentage for Hancock Middle-Senior High School was a combined score.
For academic achievement, the school only scored nine out of 20 points. In the academic progress, Hancock Middle School earned 17 out of 28 points.
In the school quality and student success, Hancock Middle School scored 15 out of 25 points in the quality of the school environment, 27 out of 48 points in academic measures, and 15 out of 25 points in measures of school quality and student success.
Hancock Middle School had 79.2% of students not chronically absent.
On the other end of the building, the high school earned 16 out of 30 points for academic achievement with 14 out of 15 points earned for graduation rate.
For the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, the result was 90.3% while the five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate of 93.5%.
The graduation rate indicator measures the performance of students in a school who graduate with a regular high school diploma.
The indicator is comprised of two measures of a cohort of ninth grade students graduating within four years of five years, respectively.
Hancock High School scored seven out of 10 points for readiness for post-secondary success.
For school quality and student success, the high school scored 17 out of 25 points, 37 out of 55 points for academic measures, and 17 out of 25 points for school quality and student success.