PARCC ASSESSMENT

Scores from the PARCC assessment fall into five performance levels, with levels 4 and 5 indicating a thorough understanding of grade-level content. The percentage of City Schools students in each grade scoring at levels 4 and 5 combined is shown in the figure below.
 
In Maryland, nearly 30 percent of 3rd- to 8th-grade students scored at level 4 or 5 in math, and nearly 40 percent of students reached these levels in English language arts.
 
Notably, City Schools students in grade 3, who have experienced curricula aligned to the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards since they started school, performed better in both math and English language arts than did students in other grades. “There is a fair amount of variation from grade to grade, but these results overall are concerning,” said City Schools CEO Gregory E. Thornton. “We are especially troubled by the middle school results. It’s imperative we meet the needs of our students, especially those who have been in City Schools for several years -- many since kindergarten. Our students need to be doing better at each grade level if they are to be successful after high school graduation, and they deserve every possible support we can provide to make sure that happens.”
 
“This fall, City Schools adopted a new formative assessment that gives our teachers immediate information about how students are doing, so they can adapt and adjust instruction quickly to meet kids’ needs,” said City Schools Chief Academic Officer Linda Chen. “Results from the first administration of that assessment were similar to what we’re now seeing with these PARCC results. We’ve already started to leverage these data to develop new approaches to ensure we can improve student achievement.”
 
At the beginning of this school year, work began to review curricula across subject areas to ensure full alignment with the new state standards and to discover opportunities where teaching in one subject could benefit learning in others. For example, writing is now receiving more attention across subject areas, reinforcing what is taught in English language arts. In math, resources are being developed to help teachers more quickly identify specific concepts with which students are struggling and know the most effective strategies to help students master those concepts. Schools with high concentrations of students experiencing academic challenges are receiving increased support from the district office, and the district is identifying successful implementation of specific practices to serve as models for other schools to follow.
 
While results for students in all grades and from all backgrounds show urgent need for improvement, more detailed analyses show major differences among student subgroups. In grades 3 to 5 in English language arts, for example, 12.2 percent of African American students and 13.2 percent of Hispanic students scored at levels 4 and 5 combined, compared with 38.4 percent of White students. In math at these grades, 9.7 percent of African American and 13.2 percent of Hispanic students scored at levels 4 and 5, compared with 34.3 percent of White students.
 
“The disparities among subgroups are particularly troubling and highlight the need to provide equity of access to programs and resources that meet the needs of every student,” said Dr. Thornton. “Equity is also very much a concern when we look at results for Baltimore’s children compared with those of their peers across the state.”
 
 “We must dive deeper into the data and what we know about our students to understand the disparities and determine how to create a more level playing field for our kids,” said Linda Chen. “We’re also working with instructional staff at the district, school, and classroom level regarding academic content, the most effective teaching practices, and knowing their students, so that they can identify what each child needs for success.”
 
Several changes are being made to PARCC in the 2015-16 school year. Students took the PARCC assessment in spring 2015 in two parts. When students take the PARCC in spring 2016, it will be given once. Additionally, it will take about 90 minutes less time to complete, and results will be available sooner.
 
Steuart Hill Students who took the PARCC assessments last year was given their individual results on Wednesday, December 23rd. To help students and families better understand PARCC and the score reports that will be sent home, SHAA will have an information session the week of January, 11th. 
  

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