A Closer Look at 7th Grade Math PARCC Scores

by Lori Morrow

Over the next two months, PGCPS will administer the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test for the third year. For more about PARCC visit the PGCPS website at http://www1.pgcps.org/parcc/.

In late September 2016, PGCPS announced that students had made gains on the PARCC test at most grade levels. However, there was an exception for seventh grade, my child’s grade. According to a PGCPS press release, “Overall, the percentage of students who met or exceeded expectations was higher this year, with the exception of the seventh-grade math test, whose testing pool excluded higher-performing students enrolled in eighth-grade math or Algebra I.”

I had initially missed the note about this “exception” but began to look closer at PARCC scores on the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Maryland Report Card after receiving my son’s individual score sheet in October. I was surprised to see so few Level 4 or Level 5 scores for the Math 7 test; those blocks were labeled only with an asterisk, indicating less than 5%. Why had this cohort—students who took the MSA in fifth grade and started with PARCC in sixth grade—fallen behind?

In an email response, PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell said that the apparent drop for the Math 7 scores was due to a change in the testing pool. He explained that in the spring of 2015, seventh-grade students, regardless of their math class, took the PARCC score aligned with their grade, Math 7. However, in 2016, PGCPS chose to have seventh-grade students enrolled in Honors Math/Accelerated 2 take the Math 8 PARCC exam, since the accelerated course curriculum was designed to cover Math 7 and 8. This is a question that I never thought to ask when I attended PARCC nights in the spring, but it made a difference in the score results.

On the MSDE website, it is not intuitive that some students are tested at a level other than their assigned grade before high school. Results are broken down by test level and demographics but not by student’s grade. Furthermore, my follow-up questions to PGCPS about the results of seventh graders alone were met with the answer that the information was not publicly available. I knew that my child’s score level had dropped from taking the Math 6 PARCC test in sixth grade to taking the Math 8 PARCC in seventh grade, but I wanted to know how the rest of the seventh graders in Honors/Accelerated 2 fared on the Math 8 exam. After filing a Maryland Public Information Act request, I received the results.

pgcps parcc2016 with mpia

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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:

A Day in the Life of a PARCC Test Administrator

How does a PARCC test session impact the school day? An hour-long test session can result in several hours of lost instructional time.

PARCC Day Blogpost 2For middle school students, the PARCC test consists of nine sessions, which vary in length. Though actual testing time lasts no more than 90 minutes per session, the impact on the day’s schedule is dramatic. One middle school teacher in Prince George’s County has painted a picture of a typical day of PARCC testing.

On the day described in this post, the teacher is assigned to proctor a room full of 8th graders who are taking a 60 minute PARCC session. Note that for each middle school grade level, this scenario is repeated on 27 different days — nine times for each grade level. (In a previous post, we published the testing schedule for the middle school described here.)

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Laurel HS Teacher Testifies at Board of Education about PARCC Testing

The following was presented as a public comment at the Prince George’s County Board of Education meeting on March 26, 2015. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools.

Good evening. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak tonight.

I am Cheryl Davis and have been involved in education for over 25 years.  I am an English teacher at Laurel High School (with 13 years of experience teaching Advanced Placement English); I have been a business writing consultant; I have been an adjunct professor; and I have even been a home and hospital teacher. This year and last, I have seen more disruption in the education of my students–caused by  poor Common Core Standards implementation and unreasonable testing requirements–than I have in over two decades  of teaching. Continue reading