State Releases PARCC Data
Posted December 8, 2015
HAGERSTOWN, MD (December 8, 2015) – Initial results from the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments for elementary and middle school students in Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) and other public school systems in Maryland are being released today, according to a press release from the Maryland State Department of Education. Students in grades three through eight took PARCC assessments in the spring of 2015 in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics.
Statewide, less than 40 percent of students in grades three through eight scored at a Proficiency Level 4 and 5 combined on the PARCC English Language Arts/Literacy assessments. The percentage of WCPS students in grades three through eight scoring at Level 4 and 5 combined on the English Language Arts/Literacy assessments was 32.6 percent. Just under 30 percent of elementary and middle school students statewide achieved Level 4 or 5 combined on the mathematics assessment, while 26.6 percent of WCPS elementary and middle school test-takers earned a Level 4 or 5 on the mathematics assessment. Levels 4 and 5 are the two highest levels on the PARCC five-point score scale. For elementary and middle school students, achieving Level 4 or 5 indicates readiness for coursework in English and math in the next grade, with a goal of preparing students to enter college or career upon graduation.
According to Dr. Peggy Pugh, WCPS associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, “PARCC assesses the new Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards, which set very high expectations for student performance. The recent results were anticipated, and the subcategories of data will help us refine instructional approaches to ensure our students achieve success under the new standards. We believe our students can meet these higher standards, given the willingness of our teachers to deeply explore the content expectations and try new methods of instruction.”
“We are engaging in a curriculum renewal process with teachers to strategically align instructional goals and resources from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade,” Pugh added. “This process will ensure that students have planned opportunities to apply their content understanding in new and different situations. For example, when a student leaves WCPS it is important that he or she can independently evaluate diverse perspectives constructively, critically, and respectfully, so each year our students will practice those essential skills. This instructional design will naturally translate into improvement on assessments, and this year’s data gives us a baseline from which to guide our practice.”
PARCC results cannot be compared with the previous Maryland School Assessment (MSA), which Maryland used for a decade. PARCC is a new and different assessment, an assessment for the first time aligned to the state’s College and Career Ready Standards. PARCC tests emphasize critical thinking, problem solving and clear writing by students. PARCC assessment results will not be used for student or educator accountability this year. This latest set of results is the second release of data, following November’s release of the initial high school PARCC results.