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Press Release: Baseline System- And School-Level Data Released For New High School Test

Local PARCC Scores Posted in Algebra I, Algebra II and English 10

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

Baltimore, MD (November 5, 2015)

New system- and school-level data has been made available today for Maryland’s new high school assessments.  The scores set a new baseline, designed to help to determine if students are on track to graduate ready for college or careers.

The data release follows the release of State-level high school assessment data before the Maryland State Board of Education last week.

On a Statewide basis, nearly 40 percent of high school students taking the PARCC English 10 assessment last spring scored at a Level 4 and 5 combined – the two highest levels on the PARCC five-point score scale. More than 30 percent of high school students attained Level 4 and 5 combined in algebra I.  For high school, achieving Level 4 or 5 indicates readiness for college and is intended to help students avoid the need to take additional coursework before taking credit-bearing courses beyond high school.

Also released today was the local system and school data for Maryland’s first-ever algebra II test.  More than 20 percent of students across the State scored at a Level 4 and 5, combined, on that test.

Results from the PARCC assessments will not be used for student or educator accountability this year.  In the coming months, the State Board will determine how the data will be used going forward.

PARCC results cannot be compared with either the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) or the High School Assessments (HSA) in algebra and English 10, which the State used for a decade.  PARCC assessments are structured differently and cover a more rigorous set of standards. PARCC is the first assessment aligned to Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards, which set a higher bar for student learning. The new tests go beyond the old “fill in the blank” model of standardized tests by emphasizing the need for students to demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving, and clear writing.

These tests also will show growth in student achievement over time.  For example, parents and teachers will better be able to determine if students taking the math and reading assessments in third grade are progressing in their understanding of the subject matter when they reach fourth grade and beyond.

The assessment uses a five-point score scale set by Maryland educators and others this past summer:

  • 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 and HSA results were based on the previous academic standards, which have not been in use in any Maryland school system since 2013-14.  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.

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.

Elementary and middle school results on the PARCC assessments will be released before the Maryland State Board of Education on December 8.

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