Skip to Main Content

Press Release: Maryland Sets Path For Release Of New Assessment Results

High School Data in October; Elementary & Middle in December

For Immediate Release                                          Contact: William Reinhard, 410-767-0486

Baltimore, MD (September 22, 2015)

The Maryland State Department of Education will unveil the first round of state-level data from new state assessments in October.

Officials will release statewide data on the high school tests in algebra and English 10 at the October 27 meeting of the Maryland State Board of Education.  State data for the elementary and middle school assessments in mathematics and reading/English language arts will follow at the December 8 state board meeting.  Home reports will be issued in November for high school students and December for elementary and middle school students.

“This will be baseline data, and will provide educators and parents with a snapshot of where Maryland students are at this point in time on this assessment,” said Dr. Jack Smith, Interim State Superintendent of Schools.  “State assessments are just one measure to use when viewing student progress; they provide Marylanders with an important data point from which to build.”

These will mark the first data release involving Maryland students who took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests given last spring for the first time.  As with any major new assessment, the test results were subject to a performance level setting process, which took place late this summer.  Future PARCC test results will be available sooner as more students are assessed online.  More than 82 percent of students took online assessments during the first administration.  Paper-pencil assessments are available as needed in the first three years.

The PARCC assessments are aligned to Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards, which set a higher bar for student learning.  The tests go beyond the old “fill in the blank” model of standardized tests, and include more writing and analytical thinking. 

PARCC represents a complete reset of Maryland’s accountability program.  Data on the new exams will not be comparable to results of the Maryland School Assessment (MSA), which the State used for a decade.  The MSA results were based on the previous academic standards, which have not been in use since 2013-14.  Some systems began implementation of the new College and Career Ready Standards as early as 2011-12.

The new assessment data will help tell parents and teachers what younger students need to know to advance to the next grade.  For older students, the information will help gauge if they are learning what is necessary to graduate ready for college without needing remediation, or are prepared for more complex and higher paying jobs.  A low score on PARCC does not mean a child is failing to learn, but rather that improvement is needed to reach new grade-level expectations.

Thirteen Maryland educators were involved in the performance setting process on the new test late this summer, during which experts set the following levels:

  • Level 5 - Exceeded Expectations
  • Level 4 - Met Expectations
  • Level 3 - Approached Expectations
  • Level 2 - Partially Met Expectations
  • Level 1 - Did Not Yet Meet Expectations

The MSA had just three performance levels and were set at a less rigorous target.  The result: most students were considered proficient in the subject matter when Maryland adopted the plan for higher standards and more advanced assessment in 2010.  This pattern of raising standards and creating new assessments has been in place in Maryland since the 1980s.

The new PARCC assessments are designed to eliminate the need for additional coursework before students take credit-bearing courses beyond high school.  Levels 4 and 5 indicate readiness for postsecondary education.

# # #