UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) made slight gains on most Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests.
Students improved on all but two PARCC tests included in accountability measures (third- through eighth- and 10th-grade English language arts, third- through eighth-grade mathematics and Algebra I). Statewide, rates improved on four English tests and six mathematics tests, according to results released Tuesday.
Overall performance improved in elementary and middle school English Language Arts (1.7 percentage point increase) and Mathematics (2.5 percentage point increase). Among high school course tests, 10th-grade English and Algebra 1 results rose (3 percentage points and 1.2 percentage points, respectively), but Algebra II results declined (5.5 percentage points).
“Though slight, these gains are encouraging. We expect that more students will meet this significantly higher bar over time,” said Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Chief Executive Officer. “Our performance is moving in the right direction, thanks to the hard work of teachers, principals and staff throughout the system. We are still focused on improving our overall performance levels. We will continue investing in resources that prepare all students for higher education and the workplace.”
PARCC, the state’s accountability program, is aligned to Maryland College and Career Ready Standards. PGCPS administered tests this past spring in English Language Arts (third through eighth and 10th grades), Mathematics (third through eighth grades), Algebra I and Algebra II.
An estimated 26 percent of elementary and middle school students met or exceeded standards on the English language arts test, and approximately 17 percent in math. At the high school level, approximately 32 percent passed the 10th-grade English language arts test and 16 percent passed Algebra I.
Elementary and Middle School PARCC Performance
The number of students who met or exceeded expectations on the PARCC exams varied among racial/ethnic and economic backgrounds, as well as among students with limited English proficiency and special needs.
Six out of eight student groups had higher passing rates on the English language arts test this year. White and Asian students posted the highest passing rates (48 percent and 52.8 percent, respectively), while African American students posted the highest improvement rates from 2015 (up 2.2 percentage points). Students with limited English proficiency and those from families with low-income had the next highest improvement rates (up 2.0 percentage points).
Math performance improvement was widespread across student groups, ranging from 0.3 percentage points (students with special needs) to 4.3 percentage points (Asian students). Overall, the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations was higher this year, with the exception of the seventh-grade math test, whose testing pool excluded higher-performing students enrolled in eighth-grade math or Algebra I.
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction will be working with schools to address math performance concerns. The school system held four PARCC Parent Night information sessions last year to educate parents on the new assessments. PARCC Parent Nights will be held again this year for families with children in third through 11th grades to help connect parents and students with resources to prepare for the PARCC assessments and gain knowledge of the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards. These events will also provide parents with resources and information to understand their child’s PARCC Home Report and test results.
PARCC replaced the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in 2015. It is the first assessment aligned to Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards, and sets a higher bar for student learning. PARCC tests require students to demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving and clear writing.
“The PARCC results provide a valuable tool that our educators can use to strengthen classroom instruction,” said State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon on Tuesday. “When combined with other assessment data and evidence of performance, teachers can tailor their efforts to individual student needs.”
PARCC results are not currently being used for accountability purposes at this time as the state reviews and revises its accountability system under the new federal Every Child Succeeds Act.
The assessment indicates how close a student is to meeting the new standards, and results are categorized into one of five performance levels:
Level 1: Did Not Yet Meet Expectations
Level 2: Partially Met Expectations
Level 3: Approached Expectations
Level 4: Met Expectations
Level 5: Exceeded Expectations