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SBOE Sees Potential in PARCC Results

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Contact: John-Paul C. Hayworth, Executive Director (202) 741-0888

Washington, DC-Today, school level results for last year’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams were released for two courses, English II and Geometry. The DC State Board of Education (SBOE) believes the results are in line with expectations for District students’ first PARCC exam, which replaced the DC Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS).

“The PARCC scores we are seeing today reflect the higher standards necessary for our students to be successful in their future," Jack Jacobson, President of the SBOE, said. "The results from PARCC’s preliminary data show us the stark reality of where our students are. These scores are a call to action for the District."

PARCC was developed by a consortium of states to provide a true test of readiness, and to align to the Common Core State Standards. In the 2014-15 school year, PARCC was given for the first time to over 5 million students in the District and eleven other states.

Students that score a four or higher within PARCC’s five-point grading scale have “met or exceeded expectations.” Performing at this rigorous level means that there is a very high chance that the student would receive at least a C in a first-year college course without remedial coursework. Last week, the SBOE unanimously voted to set level four as “proficient” for federal reporting requirements. This helps ensure that the District establishes high expectations for performance across all reporting measures as we set a new baseline for student achievement.

“With this data, we can start zeroing in on the growth of students from year to year,” Jacobson continued. “Growth is a critical measure because it means our students are progressing in their education.”

In the District, a quarter of test takers were in level four or five, meaning that they met or exceeded expectations, for English II, with another 17 percent in level three or approaching expectations. In Geometry, only 10 percent of students performed at level four or above. Approximately one-fourth of students scored at level three and nearly fifty percent scored at level two on the Geometry assessment. Clearly, the results give education leaders much to consider, including a review of how students are promoted into classes for which they may not be ready.

While the DC CAS exam tested all students in each grade, PARCC only assessed students currently studying the subject being tested. As a result, only English II and Geometry students were tested during the 2014-15 school year.

“The PARCC exam is a drastically different test that more accurately measures students' critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills, which are all necessary for students to succeed in their education and/or career after high school," Jacobson said. "We fully expect results to improve as teachers and students become more familiar with these higher standards."

Results for the elementary and middle school PARCC exams will be released in mid-November and individual scores will be sent to students and parents in December. The State Board of Education provides policy leadership, support, advocacy, and oversight of public education to ensure that every student is valued and learns the skills and knowledge necessary to become informed, competent, and contributing global citizens. More information about the SBOE can be found at