Achievement Gap – any significant and persistent disparity in academic performance or educational attainment between different groups of students, such as between white students and Black students or high-income students and low-income students.
“At or Above State Expectations” – the cut-off level determined by the Maine Department of Education that indicates proficiency in a subject area based on the state standardized assessments. For a straightforward example, this could be achieving a score of 3 or 4 on a 4-point scale.
College Going Rate – in this report, the percent of high school graduates who enroll in college within one year of graduation
College Persistence – in this report, the percentage of students enrolled in college who return for a second year.
College Completion – in this report, we measure “college completion” as the percentage of students who graduate within 150% of the normal program time.
Credential of Value – the most common higher education academic credentials are associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degrees. Additional U.S. postsecondary credentials include thousands of different certificates, industry certifications, licenses, and badges. A credential of value is a credential that prepares an individual with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in the workforce and be successful in life after high school.
Economically Disadvantaged – also sometimes referred to as “low-income,” this status is determined by a student’s eligibility for the Free or Reduced-Price Lunch program. The most recent guidelines by income level and household size can be found here. Broadly, this program is available to households with incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty level, which was $46,435 for a family of four during the 2018-2019 school year.
Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) – a yearly, statewide standardized assessment measuring student performance across a number of subjects and grades. For more information about the MEA, see here.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – a national student assessment in a number of subjects conducted yearly on a sample of students from each state. The original Education Indicators report used NAEP data to track progress toward the goals set for 2019 and compare the performance of Maine students to the national average. Beginning with the 2019 report, we switched to highlighting Maine Educational Assessment data, for which results are based on the full population of Maine students rather than a sample.
Opportunity Gap – the difference in access to resources based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English proficiency, community wealth, family composition, or other factors that may lead to differential educational outcomes for certain groups of students
Proficiency – an indication of knowledge or skill, generally referred to in terms of achieving a particular level or cut-off score on standardized assessments. See “at or above state expectations” above.
NAEP Proficient represents solid academic performance for each grade assessed. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter.
Race/Ethnicity – Schools collect information on students’ race/ethnicity from parents or guardians at the start of each school year. Race/ethnicity categories traditionally used for state reporting to the U.S. Department of Education are as follows:
- American Indian or Alaska Native
- Asian/Pacific Islander (this includes Asians from the Indian subcontinent, the Phillippines, Native Hawaiians, and Other Pacific Islanders)
- Black or African American
- Hispanic or Latino
- White (including Middle Eastern Origin)
- Two or More Races
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) – a college entrance examination that Maine students take in 11th grade. This is the basis for reporting on student achievement and proficiency levels in high school.
Regarding the achievement gap vs. the opportunity gap:
Generally speaking, opportunity gap refers to inputs—the unequal or inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities—while achievement gap refers to outputs—the unequal or inequitable distribution of educational results and benefits.
A number of these definitions were adapted from GDP’s Glossary of Education Reform. For detailed definitions on an extensive list of terms used in education, see Great Schools Partnership’s Glossary of Education Reform: www.edglossary.org.