The state summative English language arts/literacy tests are available in Grades 3-8 and high school. Students read and analyze passages from real texts — fiction and non-fiction — and sometimes watch video or listen to audio. They write, using what they’ve learned from the passages and multi-media to support their arguments. These skills are critically important for students in college and in the workplace.
In the past, students have typically been asked to write only once in each grade span — in elementary, middle, and high school. PARCC measures writing at every grade because it is key to showing readiness for the next academic work, and in high school, readiness for college and career.
The elementary and middle school test results for the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in English Language Arts/ Literacy (ELA) and mathematics are now available on the Maryland State Department of Education’s Maryland Report Card. According to the PGCPS news release, home reports will be distributed next Monday.
Maryland is one of a shrinking number of states because they have always cheated on the test. However, this year was different and they appear committed to using the new test, which was administered for the first time during the spring of the 2014-2015 school year.
Here are some key points from the data:
- The PARCC scores are on a five-point scale, with a score of 4 indicating that the student “met expectations” and a score of 5 indicating that the student “exceeded expectations.”
- According to the PGCPS news release, approximately 25% of PGCPS students in grades 3-8 scored a 4 or 5 on the PARCC ELA test, compared with nearly 40% of students in grades 3-8 in the state of Maryland.
- Just under 15% of PGCPS students in grades 3-8 scored a 4 or 5 on the PARCC math test, compared with almost 30% of students statewide.
- The difference between the performance of PGCPS students and Maryland students shrinks, however, when we look at specific subgroups (e.g. African-American students or students qualifying for free and reduced meals).
- For example, among African-American 3rd graders, 22.2% of PGCPS students scored a 4 or 5 on the English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) test, compared with 23.6% of African-American 3rd graders in the state of Maryland. The difference between the county’s and state’s performance looks much larger when we do not disaggregate the data: Just 20.7% of all PGCPS 3rd graders scored a 4 or 5 on the ELA test, compared with 38.1% of Maryland 3rd graders.
- The achievement gap between racial/ethnic groups is a concern not only within PGCPS, but also across the state of Maryland. Special education students and students with limited English proficiency had very low success rates on the PARCC tests, compared with their peers.
- There is a significant performance gap, in both Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland, between males and females on the ELA test. This gap shows up at all grade levels. In PGCPS, for example, 25.5% of 3rd-grade girls scored a 4 or 5 on the ELA test, while for boys the percentage was only 15.9%. In 8th grade, 36.5% of girls scored at a level 4 or 5, compared with only 19.9% of boys.
- According to PGCPS Deputy Superintendent Shawn Joseph, quoted in a Washington Post article, the school system ranks 20th out of 24 school districts in the state on the percentage of students scoring at a level 4 or 5 on the PARCC ELA tests. “Our reading data tells us we’re no longer last or next to last, ” he said.
- Besides countywide and statewide results, the results for individual schools are available on the Maryland Report Card website. (To find your school’s results, hover over the “School” tab, click on “Prince George’s County,” choose your school from the list, and then look under the “Assessments” heading.)
Read our story on the high school PARCC results, “PARCC Results Released for Prince George’s County,” published last month.
Read the PGCPS news release.
Read the Washington Post article, “Most Maryland Students in Grades 3 to 8 Not on Track in Math, New Tests Show.”