The Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) are the assessments that are used to meet federal Early Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) assessment requirements. MCAP has five score levels, a student who scores at level 4 or 5 is considered proficient on the material. Because of the pandemic, the MCAP was last administered in 2019.

I used data from the Maryland Report Card website to look at the percentage of students who are certified eligible for free and reduced-price meals compared to all students who took the assessment. I choose Math 5 because I wanted a group of students that had been in the school system for some time and to only capture first-time test takers. Also generally in middle school, a subsection of students start taking the Algebra I assessment (because they take Algebra) and thus are not included in the grade-level assessment. The data reports percentages of students, not the number of students. Thus, I can not easily calculate the non-FARMS subgroup, which might be a better comparison group since FARMS students are included in the all students category.

To bring some type of order to the data I reverse sorted it by all students. From a data visualization point of view I think this is an effective way of looking at the data. There is a lot of data, but it is easy to read and all of the counties are on the same chart. I wish I could better highlight the State average data with vertical lines or bolded dots, but I do not think that is an option in this software.