PGCPS to Host Four PARCC Nights for Parents

With the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test window opening on April 18th and closing on May 31st, many teachers are beginning to prepare their students. These computer-based assessments, introduced in the spring of 2015, are Maryland’s new accountability program and are designed to measure college and career readiness. Beginning in third grade, students in elementary, middle, and high school will take both Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA) sections of the PARCC. Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) will involve parents in these preparations by hosting four parent nights in the upcoming weeks.

Each event will feature an address from a representative of the Maryland State Department of Education. PGCPS staff will explain the PARCC assessment, the student score reports, and current preparations happening in classrooms. This information will be followed by breakout sessions including topics pertaining to parents of Pre-K through high schools students as well as English Language Leaners and special education students.

Registration in advance is strongly encouraged. Parents may register here. (Language interpretation services will be provided in Spanish but registration is required for ASL or any other language.)

Locations and dates are as follows:

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Prince George’s County PARCC Results Released for Elementary and Middle Schools

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

classroomThe elementary and middle school test results for the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in English Language Arts/ Literacy (ELA) and mathematics are now available on the Maryland State Department of Education’s Maryland Report Card. According to the PGCPS news release, home reports will be distributed next Monday.

Maryland is one of a shrinking number of states committed to using the new test, which was administered for the first time during the spring of the 2014-2015 school year.

Here are some key points from the data:

Fewer PGCPS Students Passed AP Exams in 2015

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

Earlier this year, we ran a story noting the six-year upward trend in Advanced Placement (AP) exam participation among students in Prince George’s County Schools. Between 2008 and 2014, participation in the AP program grew, while passing rates held steady. (Scores of three or higher, out of a possible five points, are considered passing.)

But according to numbers released on the 2015 Maryland Report Card, both the number of exams taken and the overall passing rate have declined slightly this year. Mathematics exams saw the biggest drop with a passing rate of 15.8% and 109 out of 692 exams receiving a passing score in 2015, compared with last year’s passing rate  of 19.1%, with 161 successful exams out of a total of 841 exams taken.

2008 2014 2015
AP Subject Description Exams with Scores 3-5/ Exams Taken
(%Exams w/ Scores 3-5)
Exams with Scores 3-5/ Exams Taken
(%Exams w/ Scores 3-5)
Exams with Scores 3-5/ Exams Taken
(%Exams w/ Scores 3-5)
All Subjects 2150/7829 (27.5%) 2606/9660 (27%) 2443/9452 (25.8%)
All Fine Arts 55/120 (45.8%) 130/267 (48.7%) 95/267 (35.6%)
All English Language Arts 593/2313 (25.6%) 623/2737 (22.8%) 625/2684 (23.3%)
All Foreign Language 191/301 (63.5%) 227/308  (73.7%) 183/251 (72.9%)
All Mathematics 180/753 (23.9%) 161/841  (19.1%) 109/692 (15.8%)
All Science 682/2341 (29.1%) 775/2791 (27.8%) 778/2616 (29.7%)
All Social Studies 449/2001 (22.4%) 690/2716 (25.4%) 618/2880 (21.5%)

Source: Maryland Report Card

These numbers don’t look good, but it’s not all bad news. Let’s take a closer look at the data and put the numbers in context:

Weekly News Roundup: No Child Left Behind Rewrite Passes House

Three community meetings to discuss boundary changes, school reassignment, and consolidation have been announced. Schools to be discussed include Accokeek Academy, Buck Lodge MS, Calverton ES, Forestville HS, Fort Washington Forest ES, G. James Gholson MS, Martin L. King Jr. MS, Potomac Landing ES, Princeton ES, Skyline ES, Suitland ES, Suitland HS, William Beanes ES. Reassigning sixth graders to middle schools will also be discussed. For dates and locations, see the flyer.

Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School won the Maryland 4A state football championship on Friday, defeating Howard High School 55-6 (Sentinel). Watch highlights of the game at Fox 5.

Side by Side, a faith-based nonprofit organization in Laurel, works with parents at five elementary schools to help parents learn how to help their children succeed in school. (Baltimore Sun)

A suspicious backpack with what looked like wires sticking out of it was found at Bladensburg High School after a bomb threat was called in to the school. An inspection showed that the backpack was harmless. (NBC 4)

Derrick Leon David (D-Mitchellville) and Danielle M. Glaros (D-Riverdale Park) were elected by the Prince George’s County Council as the new chair and vice chair, respectively. According to Davis, the council is “committed to creating a more business-friendly county.” (Washington Post)

A bipartisan rewrite of 2002’s much-criticized No Child Left Behind law, bill S. 1177,  easily passed the House on Wednesday and has moved on to the Senate for a vote early next week. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA,) would give the federal government a smaller role in overseeing and guiding public education. The new legislation retains the requirement for annual testing in math and English and in grades 3 – 8 and once in high school. However, states would be able to make their own decisions about how to evaluate teachers and schools. (Washington Post)

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Slight Decline in Prince George’s SAT Scores for 2015

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

The 2015 SAT scores for Prince George’s County high schools are now available on the Maryland Report Card. Though the school system’s average math subscore was three points higher this year than last year, 2015 saw a slight decline in both the mean composite SAT score and the number of test takers.

The table below shows the average reading, math, and writing subscores and the average composite SAT scores for 2015 college bound seniors in each of the county’s public high schools, as well as the average scores for PGCPS and the state of Maryland. Next to each score, the change from the previous year, 2014, is displayed in either red or green. For example, in Bladensburg High School, the average reading SAT score was 371 in 2015, 31 points lower than it was in 2014. The average math score was 384, two points higher than in 2014.


Mean SAT scores for college-bound seniors, as reported by the MSDE on the 2015 Maryland Report Card; changes (+/-) from 2014.

To find SAT scores for your school, for every year from 2008 to 2015, go to the Maryland Report Card and hover over the “School” tab. Choose “Prince George’s County” from the pull-down menu, then find your school. Click to open the SAT pdf file, found under the “Graphs and Tables” heading.

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PARCC Results Released for Prince George’s County

According to a PGCPS news release, the school system has received the PARCC results for the English 10, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2 tests. The new PARCC tests were administered for the first time in the spring of this year. Scores for elementary and middle school tests will be released in early December. (Update: Click here to read our story on the PARCC results for grades 3 through 8.)

Tests are scored with on a five-point grading scale, with a score of 4 indicating that expectations were met and 5 indicating that the student exceeded expectations. On the whole, Prince George’s County’s results were poor compared with the statewide results, but some PGCPS subgroups fared better than their peers: For example, 13.4% of African American students in Prince George’s County scored at a Level 4 or 5, compared with 12.8% of African American students statewide.

On the English 10 test, 28.9% of PGCPS students scored a 4 or 5, compared with 39.7% in the state of Maryland. On the Algebra 1 test, 15.1% of county students scored a 4 or 5, compared with 31.2% of students statewide. In Algebra 2, 8.3% scored a 4 or 5, compared with 23.2% of students in the state.

Read the full news release here.

To find a detailed breakdown of scores, including scores by racial/ethnic subgroup and other groups (e.g. FARMs qualifying, English language learners), go to the Maryland Report Card. Find scores for each school system in Maryland by selecting the county or city under the “County” pulldown menu.

Below is a roundup of what major news outlets have to say about the results:

  • The Washington Post reports that less than half of the Montgomery County students who took the Algebra and English tests and less than a third of those in Prince George’s County students are considered on track for college and careers, according to the PARCC test results. But deputy superintendent Shawn Joseph pointed out that Prince George’s County scores look better when broken down by racial subgroup: white students in the county outperformed their peers across the state on all three exams, and African American students beat state averages on two of the three exams.

Weekly News Roundup: Financial Literacy “Mini-city” Opens, Low PARCC and NAEP Scores

After a student filmed a PGCPS school bus driver texting while the bus was in motion, PGCPS is changing its transportation discipline handbook so that drivers who misuse cellphones on a school bus can be fired. (NBC 4)

A new financial literacy center opened Tuesday on the campus of G. James Gholson Middle School. The Prince George’s County Junior Achievement Finance Park is a partnership with PGCPS, Capitol One, and Junior Achievement of Greater Washington. It is a 13,500 square foot experiential learning center that will serve 9,000 students per year. Students visiting the center will take on a role (e.g. career, salary, financial obligations) and, using a digital tablet, put their financial skills to the test in a “mini-city” with storefronts and kiosks. (PGCPS)

Columnist Michelle Singletary writes of the need to be wary of conflict of interests in financial literacy programs. (Washington Post)

An Eleanor Roosevelt HS freshman writes an opinion piece for the Washington Post, questioning whether extracurricular activities should affect college admissions. (Washington Post)

At Central High School, a student’s cell phone went missing, and campus security searched the binder and book bag of every student in the class. Now the family of one of the students who was searched has filed a lawsuit, claiming that the search was illegal. (Washington Post)

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