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SBOE Recognizes District Schools for Growth on PARCC Scores

Monday, August 19, 2019
Scores show achievement gaps persist across the District

Washington, DC - Today, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang released the 2018–19 results of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing for traditional public and public charter schools in the District of Columbia. Overall, the percentage of District students who are on track for the next grade level and to leave high school prepared for college and careers increased over last year, marking the fourth consecutive year of statewide testing gains.

The District’s PARCC score averages in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics increased 3.8 percentage points and 1.1 percentage points, respectively, over 2018 levels. The full results can be found here. Individual student score reports will be sent to schools this week.

Members of the D.C. State Board of Education (SBOE) are encouraged by four years of incremental PARCC growth, but note the large gaps in college and career readiness that persist between the District’s students of color and its white students. Additionally, while District students classified as at-risk saw PARCC increases of 2.7 points in ELA and 0.6 points in math over last year, the percentage of at-risk students that scored proficient in either subject continues to lag far behind the District average.

At the high school level, ELA and math averages increased 4.4 points in ELA and 4.8 points in math over last year.

“Congratulations on the increased proficiency rates to everyone who works so hard every day to educate our students, including teachers, principals, and support staff across our DCPS and charter schools,” said Ruth Wattenberg, the State Board’s President and Ward 3 Representative. “This work is commendable and worthy of celebration. We continue to be concerned, however, about the nearly two-thirds of students that have not yet reached proficiency and the progress they are making.”

President Wattenberg called on District leaders to continue to make data reporting more transparent and to focus on how the 63 percent of District students below the proficiency threshold are progressing.

She reiterated the SBOE’s call for the District to report the achievement growth of students most in need: students eligible for federal TANF assistance, experiencing homelessness, or in the foster care system. In 2017, SBOE passed a resolution calling for further disaggregation of OSSE’s “at-risk” definition through the introduction of a “most economically disadvantaged” category that would encompass these categories.

“Until we fully understand how our most economically disadvantaged students are doing, we will have an incomplete picture of how our schools are doing,” Ms. Wattenberg said.

For the past five school years, PARCC has served as the District’s statewide assessment for all public and public charter schools; it seeks to measure student learning and academic growth. Students in grades 3 through 8 and high school take PARCC in ELA and mathematics online each spring. Students that score a 4 or higher within PARCC’s five-point grading scale are considered to have “met or exceeded expectations.”

State Board leaders applauded new state- and local-level investments in community schools as one strategy to help narrow disparities between student groups. “The persistent opportunity gap is a concern for State Board members,” Vice President and Ward 8 Representative Markus Batchelor said. “But we’re focused on continuing to make progress and promote solutions that can move the needle for students that need the most support.”

Vice President Batchelor applauded DCPS for their investment of $1.2 million into nine designated Connected Schools this school year, in hopes that the investment will expand and grow in the years to come. “As a strong advocate for the community schools strategy, I’m glad that Mayor Bowser has made Connected Schools a part of her strategy to raise achievement for all students in the District,” he said.

About SBOE

The D.C. State Board of Education is an independent agency within the Government of the District of Columbia that advises the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the District’s state education agency. The State Board is comprised of nine elected representatives, each representing their respective wards, with one member representing DC at large, and two appointed student representatives. The State Board approves statewide education policies and sets academic standards, while OSSE oversees education within the District and manages federal education funding. More information about the SBOE can be found at