I believe this shows all test takers, both first-time and retakers, I wish they would separate them.

The first map below shows the percent of all test takers who were proficient (level 4 or 5) on the Grade 10 English/Language Arts Exam for the 2020-2021 academic year. The second map shows the percent of economically disadvantaged students who were proficient on the same exam during the same period. The all-student map includes the economically disadvantaged students. The definition of economically disadvantaged is not immediately clear from the data. The definition was not included in the “definitions” section of the website. There is a separate measure, which includes more students, for “FARMS”-(free-and-reduced priced meal.” I assume that it is students “eligible” for free-and-reduced priced meals, but that is not specified either. The third map shows the percentage of non-economically disadvantaged students who were proficient on the exam.

I put these maps together to see if there were schools that had high test scores for the full student body but were less successful for economically disadvantaged students. The problem I ran into, which isn’t really shown in the maps, is that the schools with really high test scores overall, like Severa Park, have only a few economically disadvantaged students overall.

All Students

Economically Disadvantaged Students

Non-economically Disadvantaged

Student Performance On THird Grade Assessments 2019

Yesterday the Maryland State Board of Education presented data about student performance on the third grade Statewide tests in a discussion on learning loss and recovery prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new State Superintendent said that Maryland has one of the bigger performance gaps between students eligible for free/reduced meals (FARMS) and students not eligible for FARMS; however, I am not sure how that is measured. I was happy to see that they divided the data by students eligible for free/reduced meals and by race/ethnicity as that is not always done. The graphs show that regardless of race/ethnicity, family income matters when it comes to performance on third-grade assessments.

I would be curious to know if this data is available further divided by local school systems. If any school system is doing better than the others with regards to the performance gaps it might point to policies that are contributing to better student performance that may be able to be replicated in other local school systems.

Third Grade English Language Arts Performance

Student Math Performance

Data PResentation

For these graphs, I generally copied the presentation by the Maryland State Department of Education for this data for their presentation. I did not add axis markers because I did not release that they were missing until I published the graphs. I thought about making a range plot, but I didn't have the data for "all students" in a category, and for this data, I decided I preferred the bar graphs for this data. The bar graphs show that there is a performance gap between FARMS and non-FARMS eligible students for every race/ethnicity category.

I played with using low-income vs. non-low-income rather than FARMs, for the presentation of the data to a general audience, but I did not commit to the choice as you can see. This is a problem that I face frequently as a policy analyst, do I simplify data presentation for a general audience or do I provide all of the specifics so that fellow wonks can understand specifically what I am data presenting? This is a skill I want to work on in the future.