PARCC scores show over­all progress, school of­fi­cials say

In­di­vid­ual re­sults mailed to par­ents this week

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

Charles County Pub­lic Schools’ test scores show im­prove­ment, but more work needs to be done to en­sure that students are col­lege and ca­reer ready, school of­fi­cials said this week.

“This is a pos­i­tive year for us,” said Cliff Eichel, CCPS direc­tor of ac­count­abil­ity. “We’re mov­ing in a di­rec­tion that we want to move. Do we want to be at the top? Yes, but we want to also make sure our students are get­ting the in­struc­tional pro­gram that they need and that we’re do­ing ev­ery­thing in the right way, and I think we’ve made some nice

strides.”

Dis­trict and school re­sults for the sec­ond year of the Part­ner­ship in As­sess­ment for Readi­ness in Col­lege and Ca­reers, or PARCC, were re­leased Tues­day by the Mary­land State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion. The test was ad­min­is­tered in the spring of the prior school year.

Re­sults show gen­eral im­prove­ment over last year’s scores, although the per­cent­age of students whose scores meet or ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions is still lower than state av­er­ages.

Scores are ranked in a five-scale sys­tem, with the low­est — Level 1 — in­di­cat­ing that ex­pec­ta­tions have not yet been met. Level 3 in­di­cates the stu­dent is ap­proach­ing ex­pec­ta­tions, while Lev­els 4 and 5 in­di­cate the stu­dent has met or ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions, re­spec­tively.

Eichel said the scores in­di­cate grad­ual im­prove­ment.

“What we’re con­tin­u­ing to do is re­duce the num­bers be­low pro­fi­ciency. What we need to do is move our [Level] ones and twos to threes and fours,” Eichel said. “One of the big things that we did this year was to re­duce the per­cent[age] of students at [Level] 1 and 2.”

Deputy Su­per­in­ten­dent Amy Holl­stein said the over­ar­ch­ing goal is to move students up one pro­fi­ciency level over last year. PARCC re­sults show a gen­eral de­crease in the low­est lev­els and an in­crease in higher lev­els, par­tic­u­larly in the ele­men­tary read­ing scores.

“You can’t ex­pect in one year’s growth for a stu­dent to go from Pro­fi­ciency 1 to Pro­fi­ciency 5, but what you can ex­pect is for them to make steady growth if your in­struc­tion is strong,” Holl­stein said.

She said that last year’s scores served as a base­line for future progress.

“We were con­fi­dent that with the changes that we’ve made in the cur­ricu­lum and with the way that we’re in­struct­ing chil­dren, that we were go­ing to im­prove from base­line, and we did that in most ar­eas, and we’re ex­pect­ing to do that fur­ther this [school] year,” Holl­stein said.

She said that while test scores are an im­por­tant in­di­ca­tor, they are also used to im­prove the in­struc­tional pro­gram.

“Our goal is to make sure that we are get­ting kids col­lege and ca­reer ready. These scores help us know how we’re do­ing, but the class­room is the most im­por­tant piece here,” Holl­stein said.

This school year, the PARCC scores will be used as a grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ment, with students hav­ing to score a min­i­mum of 725, or Level 3, in both English 10 and Al­ge­bra I. The re­quire­ments grad­u­ally in­crease un­til 2020, when students will have to score a min­i­mum of 750 — Level 4 — on both tests to meet the grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ments.

Those stan­dards would only ap­ply to students tak­ing the tests for the first time this year, and not students who had al­ready taken the tests, Eichel said.

Had this year’s re­quire­ments been ap­plied to last school year’s re­sults, 34.1 per­cent of students would not have met the grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ment in English 10 and 43.6 per­cent of students would not have met the grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ment in Al­ge­bra I.

There will be al­ter­nate op­tions for students who don’t pass the tests, Holl­stein said, in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of re­tak­ing the ex­ams or com­plet­ing a project-based as­sess­ment, the details of which are cur­rently be­ing de­ter­mined by the state.

Eichel said he ex­pects scores will be higher once the tests have ac­tual im­pli­ca­tions for students.

“If this had counted last year, our scores would have been higher,” Eichel said. “This year, when they take the as­sess­ment, they’ll have some skin in the game, be­cause this is their grad­u­a­tion [re­quire­ment].”

In­di­vid­ual PARCC re­sults are be­ing mailed out to par­ents this week. If par­ents have ques­tions re­gard­ing the re­sults, they should con­tact their school prin­ci­pal or teacher, Holl­stein said.

Each school web­site also has ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion on PARCC scores, said school sys­tem spokes­woman Katie O’Mal­ley-Simpson.

Dis­trict and school PARCC scores can be found on­line at www. mdreport­card.org.

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