MarylandCAN, a new education advocacy group, has just released its first annual ranking of schools. A first reading of the rankings shows that lots of schools fall into the same category so there isn't much fine tuning of the data. Dozens of schools received the rating of number one.
The rankings are based on data that is readily available on the Maryland State Department of Education website, but it is organized in a way that allows for a more user friendly comparison between districts and schools.
The rankings are fairly predictable. The top elementary schools in the city that get a number one ranking are Medfield Heights, Roland Park, Empowerment Academy and Mt. Washington. To calculate the school rankings for elementary and middle schools, MarylandCAN averaged math and reading scores in the fifth and eighth grades, the year the students are existing the school. For high schools, MarylandCAN used the High School Assessments. The organization also highlighted the achievement gaps at each district and school, so that you can see how well a school does teaching its minority and low income students compared to white and non-low income population. The achievement gap information is not weighted in the rankings.
Curtis Valentine, executive director of MarylandCAN, said the rankings should provide parents information on how their child's school is doing. Charter schools in Baltimore City did particularly well in the rankings, he said. "Eighteen charters statewide ranked in the top 20 in the elementary, middle and high school rankings," Vaentine said.
Depending on the response from the public, MarylandCAN may give letter grades to each school next year, he said.