Tuesday, November 10, 2015

State releases baseline data for PARCC

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) released local school system and school-level data today for PARCC, Maryland’s new high school assessments in Algebra I, Algebra II and English 10.

More than 30 percent of Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) high school students taking the PARCC English 10 assessment last spring scored at a level of 4 and 5 combined – the two highest levels on the PARCC five-point scale. Additionally, more than 30 percent of Charles County’s middle and high school students reached Level 4 and 5 combined in Algebra 1. On the Algebra II test, which was first administered with PARCC, 4.7 percent of students scored at a Level 4 and 5 combined.

The assessment uses a five-point score scale set by Maryland educators and others:

  • Level 5 – Exceeded Expectations
  • Level 4 – Met Expectations
  • Level 3 – Approached Expectations
  • Level 2 – Partially Met Expectations
  • Level 1 – Did Not Yet Meet Expectations
For high school, achieving Level 4 or 5 indicates college or career readiness. The scores set a new baseline, and a new starting line for Maryland students, according to MSDE. This year’s PARCC results will not be used for student or educator accountability; however, the State Board will soon determine how the data will be used going forward.

“History shows us that when new accountability tests are introduced, the scores start low and end high. Accountability assessments are designed to encourage growth and improvement,” Superintendent Kimberly Hill said.

CCPS students improved greatly on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) during the decade it was used as the measure of student achievement. Its lifespan was from 2003-2013 and during that decade, elementary school students increased math scores from 39.9 percent to 81.3 percent; reading scores from 60.6 percent to 84.2 percent; middle school math from 36.8 percent to 76.9 percent; and middle school reading from 61.8 percent to 81.7 percent.

County scores

Algebra 1: Overall, 31.2 percent of students scored at level 4 and 5 combined; 29 percent scored at level 3; 29.8 percent scored at level 2 and 10 percent scored at level 1.

English 10/Language Arts: Overall, 31.0 percent of students scored at level 4 and 5 combined; 24.5 percent scored at level 3; 22.4 percent scored at level 2; and 21.2 percent at level 1.

Algebra II: Overall, 4.7 percent of students performed at level 4 and 5 combined; 20.8 percent at level 3; 41.4 percent at level 2; and 33 percent at level 1.

According to the MSDE, PARCC results cannot be compared with the MSA, which the State used for a decade, both because this is a new test and a different test. PARCC is the first assessment aligned to Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards, which set a higher bar for student learning. The tests go beyond the old “fill in the blank” model of standardized tests by emphasizing the need for students to demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving, and clear writing.

These tests also will show growth in student achievement over time.  For example, parents and teachers will better be able to determine if students taking the math and reading assessments in third grade are progressing in their understanding of the subject matter when they reach fourth grade and beyond.

The pattern of raising standards and creating new assessments has been in place in Maryland since the 1980s.

Individual high school student reports will be sent home to parents within the next few weeks. The state plans to release middle and elementary school scores in early December. For complete results, visit http://reportcard.msde.maryland.gov/.

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