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PARCC Results Show Need for Improvement

Posted August 25, 2017

HAGERSTOWN, MD (August 25, 2017) – The 2017 results from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) tests have been released. The Maryland State Department of Education released numbers for Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) and the other school systems across Maryland, compiling results of assessments in the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017. The results reflect testing for elementary, middle and high school students in reading and mathematics. The range of scores is from 5, which reflects students exceeding expectations down to 1, which reflects students not meeting expectations.

“PARCC results for WCPS have essentially been flat over the last three years, and we must find solutions to encourage higher levels of performance,” said Dr. Boyd Michael, WCPS superintendent.

WCPS showed minor gains in proficiency, or percentage of test-takers meeting or exceeding expectations by scoring at performance level 4 or 5, in English language arts (ELA) in grades 3, 6 and 7, in math grade 7, and Algebra I as compared with results released in 2016. ELA grade 3 showed an increase of 3.4 percentage points, with a total of 35.7 percent of students proficient. ELA grade 6 increased by 1.7, with a total of 35.2 percent of students proficient. ELA grade 7 increased by 1.0, with a total of 38.4 percent of students proficient. Algebra I performance showed that 36.2 percent scored at 4 or 5, an increase of 4.1 percentage points over last year. Grade 7 math increased by 0.7 percentage points, with 29.3 percent of students proficient.

Decreases were noted in all other assessed areas. ELA grades 4, 5 and 8 showed declines of 5.1, 0.8 and 3.8 percentage points, with 36.2, 36.1 and 35.5 percent of students proficient, respectively. In elementary math grades 3, 4 and 5, declines of 1.8, 3.0 and 4.0 were recorded, with 32.4, 26.9 and 28.4 percent of students proficient. Middle school math grades 6 and 8 dropped by 0.6 and 2.8 percentage points, with 30.2 and 7.1 percent of students proficient. High school ELA grade 10 declined by 4.6 percentage points, with 48.1 percent of students proficient, and High school ELA grade 11 declined by 0.5 percentage points, with 51.9 percent of students proficient. Algebra II declined by 7.4 percentage points, with 25.8 percent of students proficient.

English 9 and geometry were assessed in Washington County for the first time in 2017, with 39.9 percent of students proficient in English 9 and 25.1 in geometry.

“Based on all of these results, we must be focused on rigorous instruction every day in order to see the necessary gains. In the new accountability system, required by the Every Student Succeeds Act, these assessments will be used for achievement and growth measures for all schools in Maryland."

Two years ago WCPS restructured the instructional teams to design professional development and curriculum that is focused on improving student achievement and modeling higher quality instruction. The 2016-2017 school year was the first year of full implementation of the new WCPS curriculum.

Dr. Michael added, “To support the implementation of the curriculum, professional development activities for teachers were offered toward the end of this past school year and throughout the summer to help yield the results that we know are possible going forward.”

Attendance at several summer professional development sessions this year showed record numbers of attendees, and additional days were added to accommodate the requests from teachers. These sessions and others are being planned throughout the school year.

“As a district, we are focused on preparing students for the 21st century workforce in a rapidly changing world. To achieve this, we must work to ensure that every student has an excellent teacher and curriculum, and the leadership at all levels is focused on student success every day, from the first day of school to the last.”

WCPS staff will be presenting a full report on the PARCC results during the September 12 Board of Education meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Center for Education Services. County and school PARCC results can be viewed online at