Maryland Schools See Decline in Five-Star Status on Report Card

Despite the fact that most public schools in Maryland did not see any changes in the state Department of Education’s five-star rating system this year, there was a decrease in the number of schools achieving top-star status statewide.

According to data released on Dec. 13, 85 schools received five stars in the 2022-23 school year, compared to 215 schools in the 2021-22 school year.

One primary reason for this difference is absenteeism, a measure in the rating system that was not used two years ago due to chronic absenteeism related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new report cards also evaluate the academic growth of elementary and middle school students, as well as eighth-grade social studies scores from the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP).

“This is a new baseline year for Maryland in terms of where we are and where we want to be,” said interim State Superintendent Carey Wright in a statement. “Due to differences in result calculation between the two school years, we cannot make perfect comparisons. However, we celebrate those districts and schools that showed success, and we will continue to support those that faced challenges.”

This year’s report card indicates that 557 schools received a three-star rating, compared to 431 two years ago. The number of schools with a four-star rating remains almost the same, with 409 schools in the new report card compared to 413 in the 2021-22 academic year.

About 234 schools received a two-star rating, compared to 213 schools two years ago.

According to the new state data, 25 schools received a one-star rating. This is an increase from approximately 39 schools that received a one-star rating two years ago.

Just over 1,300 schools received a one- to five-star rating based on a 100-point accountability system that awards up to five stars to each school based on an overall performance measurement.

Schools that receive at least 75% of all possible points are given five stars.

The report card system assesses factors such as academic achievement, progress in English language proficiency, and school quality and student progress in elementary, middle, and high schools.

Academic progress is an additional measure for elementary and middle schools, while graduation rate and readiness for postsecondary success are additional measures for high schools.

The star system was implemented in Maryland in 2018 as a response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The state released a second report card in 2019, but star ratings were not issued in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

School system data

Montgomery County Public Schools, the largest school system in the state, had the most schools with five stars, totaling 24. Three high schools, Poolesville, Walt Whitman, and Thomas S. Wootton, received five stars. The remaining five-star schools are all elementary schools.

Nineteen schools in Baltimore County received a five-star status, including Fifth District and Sparks Elementary Schools, and Hereford High School.

Howard County had 12 schools that received a five-star status, including Centennial Lane and Worthington Elementary Schools, and River Hill High School.

Prince George’s County, the second-largest school system in the state, had three schools with five stars: Glenarden Woods and Heather Hills Elementary Schools, and the Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College.

Prince George’s County also had 27 schools that received a four-star rating and the highest number of schools with three stars, totaling 107, according to state data.

Baltimore City Public Schools had the highest number of schools with two stars, totaling 50, and 15 schools with one star.

However, the city did have two schools that received a five-star rating: Baltimore School for the Arts and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.

“Our focus is on making transformational educational change for students,” said state board President Clarence Crawford in a statement. “While there are signs of progress and many successes to highlight, we must continue to focus on seeing real, improved outcomes for children.”

For more information on individual schools and other data, visit the Maryland Report Card.

Editor’s Note: Due to a technical error, this story was updated to correct references to schools that received five stars on the state report card, as well as the number of schools that received a four-star rating.

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