Frederick County will receive its second set of star ratings for its schools on Tuesday, as will every other county in Maryland.
State education officials are expected to release the 2019 scores, which will assess the quality of education in all 1,400 public schools.
The rating system, dubbed a school’s “report card,” was introduced last year. Schools are scored based on factors such as academic achievement on PARCC — Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — tests, chronic absenteeism and graduation rates, and how well-rounded curriculums are.
Each school receives a one- to five-star rating based on how many points it accumulates in each category.
Last year, schools across Maryland scored unexpectedly well in a system in which it was meant to be difficult to achieve a high score.
Half of Frederick County’s high schools received a five-star rating last year. The lowest-scoring was Frederick High School, which received three stars.
In order to receive three stars, schools must earn at least 45 percent of possible points.
Overall for 2018, Frederick County had a 94 percent attendance rate and a 92 percent graduation rate.
For this year’s ratings, two new factors are being considered: results from the Maryland Integrated Science Assessment, which is taken each spring by fifth- through eighth-graders, and survey results of students and teachers.
According to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the survey asked questions about topics such as school safety, environment and culture — such as whether or not students felt safe in their school from violence and bullying — the quality of relationships between students and teachers, and whether students felt academically supported.
The survey was administered to students in fifth through 11th grades in the spring of this year.
Once the scores are released, schools that scored in the bottom 5 percent will be labeled in need of “comprehensive support.” The administrators of these schools will then begin working with the state to make improvements and some federal funds will be available to provide resources in order to help improve achievement.
The star ratings came into effect due to a requirement set by the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was passed in 2015 and replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. It took two years for state leaders to develop the accountability system, and most states now employ a school rating system using either stars or A through F grades.