Anne Arundel County Public Schools students who took high school level PARCC exams last year outperformed their counterparts across the state on the Algebra I assessment, were on par in English 10, and lagged behind in Algebra II, according to the first results of the assessments released today.
On both the Algebra I and English 10 exams, 39 percent of students scored a 4 or 5, the levels identified as “college and career ready” by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which designed the assessments. Statewide, 31.2 percent of students scored a 4 or 5 on the Algebra I assessment, while 39.7 percent did so in English 10. On the Algebra II exam, 15.4 percent of county students scored a 4 or 5, compared to 20.2 percent statewide.
“What we have here is a single piece of data, and a starting point for the journey of helping our students rise to the challenge of competing in a dynamic and ever-changing global economy,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “We will learn from these results, but we will not be defined by these data points alone. We will be defined by how and where we move students going forward, just as we saw with the previous High School Assessments.”
When the former Maryland High School Assessment (HSA) was put in place in the 2002-2003 school year, 55.6 percent of students passed the HSA Algebra assessment and 40.6 percent of students passed the English assessment. By the 2013-2014 school year, the last year of full implementation of the HSA, the pass rates had surged to 91.9 percent in Algebra and 88.3 percent in English.
Last spring, more than 5 million students in 11 states and the District of Columbia took PARCC assessments – which are more rigorous than the former Maryland High School Assessment (HSA) –to gauge their progress toward meeting the new Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards. The Maryland State Department of Education has yet to establish a threshold score for “passing” the exams, which will eventually be required for students to graduate.
“I would equate the meaning of today’s scores to high jumpers on a track and field team,” Dr. Arlotto said. “All of the jumpers may have been able to clear the bar at 5 feet, but fewer can clear it instantly at the new height of 6 feet. It is our challenge now to train and support our students so that they can reach the new height.”
County results also revealed the same types of gaps among student groups that were present with the HSA assessments, something Dr. Arlotto said would continue to receive intense attention moving forward.
“It is impossible to draw any correlation between the HSA and PARCC because they are completely different assessments,” Dr. Arlotto said. “However, what is clear in these results is that we must continue our laser-like focus of addressing the varying needs of different student groups to help students in those groups get to the place where we need them to be.”
The data released today include the following:
The brightest spots came in county middle schools, where no school had fewer than 52 percent of its students score a 4 or 5. Led by Bates Middle School’s 92.2 percent, 10 of the county’s 19 comprehensive middle schools saw more than 80 percent of their test-takers score a 4 or 5.
“The fact that middle school students led the way on the Algebra I assessment is something we need to look at very, very closely,” Dr. Arlotto said. “We need to determine what factors in our curriculum and instructional approaches led to these results, and see how and where we can replicate them.”
Three of the county’s 12 comprehensive high schools, led by Severna Park High School’s 31.1 percent, had a higher percentage of test-takers score a 4 or 5 than the state average, and 39.1 percent of Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School test-takers did so.
All five county middle school students who took the Algebra II assessments scored a 4 or 5.
Nine of the county’s 12 comprehensive high schools, led by Broadneck High School’s 58.3 percent, had a higher percentage of test-takers score a 4 or 5 than the state average, and 64.8 percent of Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School students did so.
Complete results, including school-by-school and student group breakdowns of each assessment, can be found in the link below.
More information on PARCC assessments can be found here.