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.