District Report Card:
The Federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires that all public school students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 participate in standardized testing each year. For approximately two decades testing for Maine students consisted of the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA). Yarmouth schools and students have traditionally performed significantly better than the state average and have often produced the highest scores of any non-magnet, public school district in the state. This is no small accomplishment, as Maine students as a whole out-perform those in most other states. In 2013, Maine 4th graders and 8th graders scored among the top 15 states in math and among the top 20 in reading on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Maine is also one of the states identified as scoring higher than the average of 47 countries or sub-national education systems that participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). This is encouraging news, yet Maine schools – and Yarmouth schools in particular – are constantly seeking ways to improve, using data from a wide variety of sources to guide our decision-making processes. In this report we present two sources of data – state and federal accountability programs – that are used to measure our schools’ effectiveness.
Maine School Report Cards
In 2013, Maine started the practice of assigning letter grades to each school participating in the federal assessment program. In this system, schools receive scores based on several factors, including the number of students reaching proficiency, the collective growth of individual students, the growth among students who scored in the bottom 25% in the previous year, or – for high schools – the graduation rate. In Table 1, below, you will find a summary of the Maine School Report Card grades for each of our schools participating in the federal assessment program (this program was suspended for two years in 2014-15, as the state's assessment program is evolving).
Please be reminded that Rowe School did not receive a grade because there is no grade level in the school participating in the federal assessment program. We know from other indicators – such as the performance of students who move from Rowe School to Yarmouth Elementary School that our primary school also performs at a high level.
You will note that the category scores do not add up to the total score. This is because the state uses a formula that requires the growth scores for grades 3-8 and the graduation rates for high schools to be reduced by ½ before being added into the sum. For Yarmouth Elementary School and Harrison Middle School, a total score of 300 or above is required for an “A”, while at Yarmouth High School, the minimum required for an “A” is 350 points.
Although it may seem incongruous that Maine began assigning letter grades in the same year that legislation was adopted requiring all schools in the state to move away from letter grades and toward a standards-based assessment system, the practice has been implemented and earns a great deal of publicity each year. The data provided is helpful, though we do not consider any single measure to be the sole indicator of how well our schools are doing. This grade does not begin to tell the story of the many high quality programs we offer in foreign language, science, physical education and athletics, visual and performing arts, social studies, robotics, and a plethora of other, equally impressive offerings. There were no new grades issued in 2015, as the Maine Department of Education elected to pursue a new statewide assessment program, making comparisons with previous years difficult.
For more information on Maine’s School Report Card program, follow this link: http://www.maine.gov/doe/schoolreportcards/index.html
Despite these reasons for optimism, we are not resting on the laurels of the performance of former students. The professional educators in Yarmouth continue to seek ways to improve the experience for each student as we strive to attain our mission of “empowering all students to create fulfilling lives in a changing world”.
Federal Accountability – NCLB
On a less encouraging note, despite the impressive performance of our students – and recognition from the Maine Department of Education as “A” schools – our schools have now joined the vast majority of districts around the nation that are struggling to meet the constantly rising standards of the NCLB legislation. Most notably, in 2014 our schools joined the long list of those that could not make “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) as the targets set for our schools (which are based on past performance) finally rose above the level we could meet in each subgroup. For example, at Yarmouth High School, it was expected that 80% of our students would be proficient in reading. In fact, 85% of our students met that standard, including 81% of our female students and 90% of our male students. However, because our female students had performed so well for several years prior to 2013, the target for their subgroup was elevated to 92%. The result is that, even though the entire school exceeded the whole school target, because this one subgroup did not meet the subgroup target, the school is deemed as one that is “not making AYP”.
The subgroups that must each meet the AYP targets include groups based on gender, ethnicity, economic standing, disabilities, and English proficiency. As you can well imagine, meeting the challenge to have each of these subgroups meet ever-increasing performance targets in every academic subject requires significant effort – an effort our entire staff is putting in each day as they attempt to ensure that each child receives the attention and instruction he or she deserves as a member of our learning community.
In Table 2, below, you will find a summary of each of our schools participating in the federal assessment program (again, Rowe School does not appear on the list, as students in Kindergarten and Grade 1 are not included in the testing).
Schools that perform well on standardized tests typically have three significant populations: skilled and knowledgeable educators, motivated and aspiring students, and well-educated and supportive parents and community members. We are fortunate to have a large number of each within our district, and we thank you for your continued role in our students’ successes.To view 2015-2016 NCLB report cards for our schools, please click on the following links:
Yarmouth Elementary School
Harrison Middle School
Yarmouth High School
To learn more about our curriculum cycle, click on the "Curriculum Procedures" link below. We are in the process of updating our subject-matter and grade-level scope and sequence documents. Please check back here for updates to our curriculum documents throughout the school year.