- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2019

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday announced that an annual assessment of city students’ readiness for college and careers has seen steady growth for the fourth consecutive year.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests third and eighth graders and high school students for proficiency in English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics.

“We all acknowledge, PARCC is but one assessment of how we measure the progress of our students, and while we know that test scores are not everything we also believe that data provides an important insight into where we’re making progress and where we need to continue to focus,” Miss Bowser said Monday during a press conference at Whittier Elementary School in Northwest.

The 2019 PARCC tests, administered in April, saw an overall 4.9% increase in ELA proficiency and a 1.9% increase in math proficiency for D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) students over last year.

What’s more, PARCC scores have increased 15 percentage points in ELA and 11.5 percentage points in math since D.C. students began taking the assessment tests in 2015. Meanwhile, the number of D.C. students taking the tests has risen steadily by more than 2,600 children since then.

Black, Hispanic and at-risk students, as well as those with disabilities, all saw an increase of at least 3 percentage points in ELA and 1 percentage point in math since last year.

“We can build a fairer and more equitable city when we know that our African American and Latino students are achieving at the same levels as their white peers,” Miss Bowser said.

The mayor said the achievement gap between white students and other children is “still too wide.” To combat that, she announced that the District this year is applying a “connected schools model” to 10 schools that integrates academics, health and social services.

“I am proud to see gains across student backgrounds, including socioeconomic status, race, ward, and gender, but we have much more work to do to close achievement and opportunity gaps in our district,” said schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “Our commitment to equity and excellence will not waver, and we will continue to implement new and innovative supports for our students so they are better prepared for success in college, career, and life.”

The PARCC results also show that female students out-perform males across all subgroups in ELA and math. For example, while Hispanic boys and girls both saw an improvement in test results, Hispanic girls have test averages 14.7 percentage points higher than boys in ELA.

Miss Bowser acknowledged that “data shows there are some areas of concern in math.” She said the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education will offer professional development for math teachers and a data-driven support system for math teachers via math managers to address that issue.

Miss Bowser also reminded parents to make sure to get their child vaccinated in time for the first day of school on Monday.

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