Archived Reports

Teacher Turnover as a Metric for Equity in Maryland Public Schools (7.19.19)
Pamela Callahan

Teacher turnover has a direct relationship with the quality of education a student receives and the way teachers experience their role in a particular school. High rates of teacher turnover can negatively impact student performance, school climate, teacher collaboration and organizational functioning, especially for diverse students. Given these relationships, this report examines which students in Maryland are most likely to experience high rates of teacher turnover. 

Access to Colleges and Universities in Maryland:  Who Enrolls and Who Persists? (6.28.19)
Charlotte E. Healy

The increasing diversity of the college age population has challenged educators, researchers, and policymakers to think differently about access to higher education. While access has often meant encouraging students to enroll in college, we re-conceptualize access to include persistence in college, that is the continued enrollment in college, transfer to another institution or completion of an educational credential. This report describes trends in access to higher education in Maryland, including how enrollment and persistence varies by student characteristics and institution.

The State of Education for Students Learning English in Maryland and Prince George’s County Public Schools (6.14.19)
Kayla Good

This report examines the state of education for English Learning (EL) students in Maryland and Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS). It found disparities in graduation rates, attendance, and standardized test scores for EL students compared to non-EL students, and in PGCPS, a decline in graduation rates as the enrollment of EL students has grown.  It provides an overview of the International High Schools model adopted in PGCPS—an innovative program aimed at addressing the challenges presented by an increasing EL population. This model specializes in providing EL students with equitable access to educational opportunities. 

Maryland Commission on the School-to-Prison Pipeline and Restorative Practices: Final Report and Collaborative Action Plan (12.20.18) 
Gail Sunderman

This report examines the state of education for English Learning (EL) students in Maryland and Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS). It found disparities in graduation rates, attendance, and standardized test scores for EL students compared to non-EL students, and in PGCPS, a decline in graduation rates as the enrollment of EL students has grown.  It provides an overview of the International High Schools model adopted in PGCPS—an innovative program aimed at addressing the challenges presented by an increasing EL population. This model specializes in providing EL students with equitable access to educational opportunities.

High Suspending Schools in Maryland: Where are they Located and Who Attends Them? (10.31.18)
Gail L. Sunderman & Robert Croninger

This report examines disparities in out-of-school suspension (OSS) rates to understand which schools across Maryland use OSS at high rates and what school-level factors predict high suspension rates. It finds that both the district and school a student attends play a role in suspension rates. The report concludes by identifying policies and practices to address disparities in disciplinary practices. 

When Law Enforcement Meets School Discipline:  School-related Arrests in Maryland 2015-16 (6.1.18)
Gail L. Sunderman & Erin Janulis

How do school-related arrests vary across public school districts in Maryland? This report shows that arrest rates are much higher in some districts than others, and that that black, male and low-income students, and students with disabilities are more likely to be arrested at school than other students. The report concludes by identifying policies and practices that can address these disproportionalities and reduce the number of school-related arrests. 

Does School Composition Matter? Estimating the Relationship between Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Achievement in Maryland Public Schools (10.18.17) 
Jeremy R. Waldron, Robert Croninger, & Gail L. Sunderman

Does school composition matter in Maryland? This analysis examines the relationship between the racial/ethnic and economic composition of Maryland’s public schools and school performance. Consistent with other research, it schools that school composition is related to student achievement.  However, these analyses of Maryland Public Schools do not provide information on how much of this association is due to differences in the quality of schooling or in the opportunities available to children outside of schools. The report concludes by identifying policies and practices that can address these differences in school performance. 

Is there a Teacher Shortage in Maryland? Examining Trends in Supply and Demand (5.30.17)
Erin Janulis

An increasing number of reports suggest that America has a teacher shortage. But what is the situation here in Maryland? In this report, Erin Janulis examines trends in the supply and demand for teachers in Maryland, comparing how these trends have changed between 2005 and 2015. She finds little evidence that there is a teacher shortage in Maryland and explains why in this report. 

Dual Enrollment in Maryland and Baltimore City: An Examination of Program Components and Design (5.18.17)
Gail L. Sunderman

Dual enrollment programs offer high school students the opportunity to enroll in college courses and earn transferable college credit while they are still pursuing a high school diploma.  Increasingly, policymakers are encouraging access to dual enrollment for a broader range of students. Yet in 2015, only 11% of 12th graders in Maryland—and only 2% of 12th graders in Baltimore City—were dually enrolled.  Why aren’t more students, particularly low-income students of color, taking advantage of this opportunity? 

In this Abel Foundation report, Maryland Equity Project director Gail Sunderman examines the implementation of dual enrollment in four Maryland school districts and finds that the current law does not go far enough to create equitable opportunities for all students.

Trends in Maryland Public Schools: English Language Learner Enrollment (3.28.17)
Angélica Montoya Ávila

This data brief examines the enrollment of English Language Learners (ELL) in Maryland public schools. It shows that the ELL population is growing at a faster rate in Maryland than in the U.S. and that Maryland is among 25 states with the largest proportions of ELL students. The data brief also compares languages spoken at home in Maryland with those across the US and shows how the ELL population is distributed, county-by-county, in Maryland. 

Funding Formulas and Revenue Streams: A Primer on Public School Finance in Maryland (9.15.16)
Laura Checovich

Education funding consists of a combination of federal, state, and local funding streams, each contributing varying portions of funds, and each with its own set of rules and regulations for determining the level of funding and how they can be spent. Checovich provides an easy-to-read guide to understanding how these various streams come together to fund Maryland’s public schools.

Financing Public Education in Maryland: A Brief History (9.15.16)
Laura Checovich

This policy brief traces the evolution of Maryland's public education funding formula beginning in 1978 when the state adopted a formula designed to equalize funding across districts to the current formula based on funding adequacy. 

Key Indicators on the Path To a Bachelor’s Degree by Race and Ethnicity in Maryland (4.20.16)
Joseph Popovich

This policy brief examines the path to college degree attainment in Maryland by race and ethnicity. Using data at three different points on the path to a college degree, it shows very different representation by racial/ethnicity at each point. Popovich discusses the challenges these disparities present and the implications of these trends for increasing the number of college graduates from Maryland’s higher education institutions. 

Trends in Maryland College-Bound Seniors’ SAT Scores (3.17.16)
Joseph Popovich

In 2015, SAT scores for Maryland’s college-bound seniors dropped for the fifth consecutive year, and over the past ten years have increasingly fallen below those of their national counterparts. In 2015, Maryland scored 23 points below the national average. In this data brief, Joseph Popovich examines trends in SAT scores of Maryland test takers, comparing them to national averages. He discusses the implications of these trends in light of the state goal of increasing the number of college graduates. 

The Teachers’ Voice: Using Technology in Maryland Public Schools. (11.17.15) 
Bradley Quarles, June, Ahn, & Gail L. Sunderman 


This report presents the results of a survey administered in spring 2015 to teachers across Maryland. The survey was designed to assess how teachers use and integrate technology into their classroom practice and their perceptions of the adequacy of their schools’ technology tools. It also asked teachers about their access to technology during testing and what they need more of to support their use of technology. 

Out-of-School Suspension in Maryland Public Schools, 2008 – 2014. (11.4.15)
Matthew Henry 

Increasingly, exclusionary discipline, or the practice of removing students from the classroom in response to disruptive behavior, is coming under scrutiny. Since 2008 Maryland has made a concerted effort to reduce the use of suspension in its public schools. In this policy brief, Matthew Henry examines the impact of Maryland’s change in disciplinary policy on out-of-school suspensions in public schools. He finds that while suspension rates have decreased, racial disparities increased. 

Why is the Number of College Freshmen Declining in Maryland? (10.27.15)
Joseph Popovich

The number of new full-time freshmen enrolling in Maryland colleges has decreased by 14% between 2009 and 2014, yet the number of high school graduates in the state has remained essentially unchanged. In this policy brief, Joseph Popovich examines trends in freshmen college enrollment, and identifies several factors that help explain the downturn. Taking into account the demographic shifts in the state’s K-12 population, Popovich discusses the implications of these trends for college enrollment and graduation in Maryland.

Can a Percent Plan Be a Successful Race-Neutral Alternative to Race-Conscious Affirmative Action in Maryland? (9.22.15)
Daniel Klasik

Many colleges have used race-conscious affirmative action policies to boost the enrolment of underrepresented minority students. However, the 2013 Fisher v. the University of Texas decision from the Supreme Court has thrown race-based affirmative action policies into doubt. Some states have tried race-neutral alternatives such as percent plans that guarantee admission if the applicant graduates within some top percentage of their high school class. In this policy brief, Daniel Klasik explores whether and how a percent plan might work in Maryland.

Making Sense of MSA and NAEP Assessment Results: How Well Are Maryland Students Doing? (9.15.15)
David Casalaspi, Gail L. Sunderman, Robert Croninger, & Jillian Luchner

How well are Maryland’s students performing? Every year, Maryland State Assessment (MSA) results show that student performance is improving and that racial and poverty achievement gaps are closing. But a closer look at test score data reveals a more nuanced picture of student performance. In this policy brief, researchers at the Maryland Equity Project compare Maryland students’ results on the MSA with their results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and discuss the limitations of relying on one test to judge student performance. 

School-to-Prison Pipeline: A Comparison of Discipline Policy Between Maryland and Texas Public Schools (8.26.15)
Meredith Bouchein 

As Meredith Bouchein argues in this policy brief, the school-to-prison pipeline is a chain of events that increases the likelihood of a student entering the criminal justice system and shows that minority students are disproportionality affected by disciplinary actions. She compares discipline policies in Maryland and Texas, and shows that policy changes can decrease suspension rates, but that without a specific equity focus, racial disparities increase. It concludes with recommendations on reforming school disciplinary policies.

Data Briefs (2.25.15)
Trends in Maryland Public Schools: Enrollment
Trends in Maryland Public School Enrollment: Racial Composition 
Trends in Maryland Public School Enrollment: Student Poverty 
Trends in Maryland Public Schools: Segregation

These four data briefs focus on trends in public school enrollment in Maryland over the last twenty years (1990-2010). The first data brief examines trends in public school enrollment, showing where growth is taking place. The second brief shows how the racial composition of schools is changing, while the third traces changes in the socioeconomic composition of schools. The final brief shows how segregation, by both race and income, is also changing. Using data from the Maryland Equity Project research report, Creating Opportunities or Settling for Inequities? Two Decades of Change in Maryland’s Public Schools, the four briefs include tables, figures and maps designed to highlight major demographic trends in Maryland. 

K-12 Online Education: What are the Policy Implications for Maryland? (2.4.15)
June Ahn, Bradley Quarles & Austin Beck

Technology has become an increasingly important topic in K-12 education, but designing effective policies to keep up with the advancements in learning technology and facilitate the use of digital tools in K-12 public education is harder than it might seem. Simply adopting policies that facilitate access to technology is insufficient to improve student learning. This policy brief compares Maryland’s experiences with online education to other states and describes the governance, funding, learning, and accountability challenges online education poses for K-12 schools and districts. It shows how different kinds of online delivery options each involve a different set of questions and challenges that, if addressed, will facilitate successful use and implementation. The brief concludes with recommendations for how policymakers can address these challenges and better link instructional and learning goals to technology use in K-12 classrooms.

High School Graduation Rates in Maryland (1.22.15)

High school graduation rates are one of the most important measures of the overall effectiveness of our school system. In this data brief we place the graduation rate of Maryland in a national context and show how Maryland is performing relative to its neighboring states. We also explore graduation rates at the district level and describe how school districts in Maryland are performing relative to how we would expect given the characteristics of the students enrolled in each district. 

A State-by-State Assessment of Percent Plans as a Race-Neutral Means of Achieving Postsecondary Racial Diversity. (November 2014) 
Daniel Klasik & Justin Dayhoff

In light of recent court decisions on affirmation action in college admissions decisions, states and public universities have searched for race-neutral alternatives to current race-based affirmative action policies. This working paper explores one of these alternatives—percent plans—and the extent to which these plans provide viable race-neutral admissions alternatives. Using nationally representative data, the authors estimate the potential composition of a class of students admitted under a percent plan policy in every state. The authors discuss the implications of their findings for maintaining racial diversity in public universities. 

Creating Opportunities or Settling for Inequities? Two Decades of Change in Maryland’s Public Schools (11.13.14)
Gail L. Sunderman & Justin Dayhoff

Since 1990, Maryland has undergone substantial changes in the racial and socio-economic composition of its public schools. Statewide, White students are no longer a majority and the proportion of low-income students has doubled to 40.1% in 2010. Tracking demographic changes in public school enrollment between 1990 and 2010, this report also finds that schools are becoming more segregated by race and that the concentration of low-income students in schools is increasing. Appendices provide detailed data and figures that show these trends by school district.

Who Attends Maryland's Reward, Focus, and Priority Schools? (8.28.14)

In 2012, Maryland redesigned its school accountability system and adopted the School Progress Index (SPI) to measure school performance. This index is used to identify Reward, Focus, or Priority schools. In this data brief, we examine the geographic and demographic characteristics of schools identified as needing improvement under this new system and show where these schools are located. We find that schools identified as low performing (Focus and Priority) enroll predominately minority and low-income students. We discuss the policy implications of this new system.

High School Mathematics Standards in Maryland: Challenges and Consequences of Policy Implementation (6.24.14)
James T. Fey 

While the current trend in Maryland to raise high school mathematics requirements may be based on good intentions, as Professor James T. Fey points out in this policy commentary, the devil is in the details. Dr. Fey argues that implementation of the state’s new graduation policies faces significant challenges, from defining what it means to be ‘college and career ready’ to designing and staffing effective mathematic transition courses to assuring that minority and low-income students have the support they need to succeed. In this commentary, Fey takes a close look at these questions from a research perspective and provides recommendations to the state to improve implementation of its new high school mathematics requirements.

Academic Transformations: Redesigning College Remedial Courses to Achieve Equity (5.16.14) 
Erin Knepler, Daniel Klasik & Gail L. Sunderman

As the need for postsecondary credentials becomes more important, colleges and universities are increasingly seeking ways to address the needs of students entering college underprepared. This policy brief examines the efforts of Maryland high education leaders to redesign remedial courses that college students often must take before transitioning into credit-bearing courses. The brief provides both national and Maryland state data on remediation course taking and completion, and then reviews preliminary data on remediation course redesign undertaken in Maryland colleges. It concludes with recommendations for how policymakers and educators can enhance the use of course redesign to both create change and promote equity. 

Three Maryland Policies to Address College Affordability Concerns: What Does the Research Say? (2.27.14) 
Daniel Klasik & Caroline Titan

As the costs of attending college have escalated, policymakers are increasingly searching for ways to address these rising costs. Three proposed bills now before the Maryland General Assembly are designed to help ease college affordability concerns. These bills—the Pay it Forward model of revenue generation, a proposed income tax credit for student loan repayment, and a policy to help high-achieving, low-income students make smarter decisions about college attendance—are all designed to help middle- and low-income students attend college and address affordability concerns.

This policy brief discusses the theoretical basis for each piece of legislation and reviews the research—to the extent that it exists—that supports the goals of each policy. It identifies unresolved concerns about the implementation of each of the three policies and includes a review of the driving forces behind rapidly rising tuition. Its aim is to provide research-based evidence that can inform the policy debate around college affordability. 

Who Attends Publicly Funded Preschool in Maryland? (2.26.14) 

Maryland provides publicly funded preschool for economically disadvantaged 4-year olds and some 3-year olds. In this data brief we describe enrollment trends in publicly funded preschool in Maryland and show how enrollment varies by race/ethnicity. We also examine changes in state funding for publicly funded preschool over time.

School-Community Partnerships: A Typology for Guiding Systemic Educational Reform (2.19.14) 
Linda Valli, Amanda Stefanski, & Reuben Jacobson

Dissatisfaction with U.S. schools has generated a wide range of school reform efforts in recent years. One of the most current, and compelling, reform stratetgies centers on school-community As Professor Linda Valli and her colleagues point out, a close look at these partnerships indicates a variety of models, strategies, and purposes for these partnerships.

In this brief, the authors develop a typology of school-community partnerships. According to Professor Valli, “thinking about ‘types’ of partnerships can enable practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to systematically determine the conditions needed to support a particular partnership and identify the obstacles to achieving specific goals.” The report also provides examples of school and community partnerships in each model.

Can Maryland Benefit from Universal Preschool? A Review of the Research on the Efficacy of Early Education (2.12.14) 
Gail L. Sunderman & Caroline Titan

Access to universal preschool has garnered the attention of politicians and policymakers in Maryland and across the nation as a means to capitalize on learning that takes place in the early years. This attention has generated debate about the benefits of early education, in part because expanding access to preschool requires significant funding, but also because the research on early education can appear contradictory.

This policy brief summarizes the research on early education and examines arguments for and against universal preschool from a research perspective. It surveys new knowledge from neuroscience on how early childhood experiences affect learning and brain development, summarizes findings from program evaluations of preschool programs, and reviews the literature on the costs and benefits of expanding preschool. Taken together, these various streams of research present a compelling argument for investing in early education programs.

The College Application Gauntlet: The Obstacles Presented by the Steps to College Enrollment (November 2013)
Daniel Klasik

Enrolling in college is harder than it might seem. While scholars have identified many factors associated with the development of college aspiration and final enrolent decisions, we know relatively little about the steps a student must take between aspiration and enrollment. In this policy brief, Dr. Klasik discusses the way these steps collectively present a complex labyrinth that students must navigate. He examines the rates at which students complete these steps and how various academic and social factors explain differential completion rates. He concludes with how policymakers can target some of these steps to smooth the path to college and how these actions affect students’ college choices.