Notes on 2017 PARCC Results

by Lori Morrow

Results for the PARCC Assessments taken in Spring 2017 were the main discussion item at the PGCPS Board of Education meeting on September 19, 2017.  PARCC stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. It is a set of annual tests in English/Language Arts and Mathematics that students take in grades 3-12 during April and May.  More information about PARCC can be found online at https://parcc.pearson.com or www.pgcps.org/parcc.

  • The Maryland State Department of Education released this year’s PARCC scores near the end of August 2017.  Results for all state, county and individual school results are available online at http://reportcard.msde.maryland.gov.
  • All students who took PARCC tests should receive individual score sheets from their schools.  If you have not received your results, contact your school’s Testing Coordinator.  Information about understanding the score sheets is online at www.pgcps.org/parcc. Dr. Goldson mentioned that PGCPS will not be presenting “PARCC Nights” like previous years due to low attendance during the 2016-17 School Year.

PARCC RESULTS PRESENTATION:

Dr. Goldson’s presentation begins with the overview and Elementary School Scores: https://youtu.be/o9T65Q9I83U?list=PL4585E4C6234DE895&t=1620

  • Grades 3-5: Increases in all ELA/Math scores by grade except for a decrease for Math 5. Despite increases, PGCPS is still well below the state average for both assessments. For all demographics, students did better on ELA than they did for Math. Most demographic subgroups showed improvement from SY2016 to SY2017.

Middle School Scores: https://youtu.be/o9T65Q9I83U?list=PL4585E4C6234DE895&t=1944

  • Grades 6-8: Slight decrease for student performance in grades 6-8 on both ELA and Mathematics assessments.  The only increase in results was at Grade 7, which was due to clarification from MSDE that students should take the assessment for their grade level.  All demographic subgroups did better on ELA assessments than they did in Math.  Asian and white students outperformed African American students, but it also must be noted that the number of African American students in PGCPS significantly exceeds the number of Asian and white students.  Most groups at the middle school level showed minimal growth or a slight decrease.

Continue reading

Teachers Concerned about Time-Consuming Test for Kindergarteners

by Genevieve Demos Kelley

IMG_6404I have been a teacher in Maryland for over 33 years and I have never had anything impact my instruction negatively as the administration and recording of the KRA.  — from MSEA’s Survey of Kindergarten Teachers, (Appendix I, p. 34)

Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA), introduced during the 2014-2015 school year, is designed to measure a child’s readiness for school in four areas: Language & Literacy, Mathematics, Physical Well-being & Motor Development, and Social Foundations.

On the surface, this sounds reasonable: Teachers have always assessed their incoming students’ skills, so that they can better meet the needs of the class. But the outcry from kindergarten teachers over this new assessment was so loud that the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) asked that the use of the KRA be suspended until “critical revisions” are made. A 100-plus page report issued by MSEA documents survey data and narrative responses from hundreds of kindergarten teachers.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly negative. Teachers are deeply concerned about the loss of instructional time, and they see little value in the data generated by the test.

  • The test is administered by the child’s kindergarten teacher — not an assistant or other staff member — on a one-on-one basis. Since the assessment occurs during the school day, instructional time is lost as teachers pull students for testing and substitutes take their place. Here are comments from three teachers who responded to MSEA’s survey:
    • The time used to administer the KRA…could be used to pull small groups, work one-on-one with students, provide enrichment to students, collect data for progress reports, etc. (p.2).
    • Some of the fun projects we do in the beginning of the year, that go along with the curriculum, have gone by the way side (Appendix I, p. 58).

    • The first few months of school are the most important in setting routines, expectations and getting to know my children. I have spent more hours ignoring their needs or handing off instruction to substitutes then I can count (Appendix I, p.1).
  • Initially, teachers were told that the test would take about 45 minutes for each child. But according to the Maryland State Education Association’s (MSEA) survey of kindergarten teachers, about 80% of teachers found that the test took more than hour to administer. Nearly one in five teachers (17.7%) reported that the test took over two hours. Multiplying this by the number of kindergarteners in each class means many hours of lost instruction.

Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

Weekly News Roundup: School Lunches, Arts Integration, Saturday School, and Standardized Testing

CEO Responds to School Lunch Reports:  As part of National School Lunch Week, PGCPS CEO Kevin Maxwell invited FOX 5 along to a Bowie school to have lunch and discuss the recent reports of substandard quality in school lunches.  FOX5

PG County School Closed Due to Fire:  Samuel Chase Elementary School in Temple Hills, MD, was closed Wednesday and Thursday due to a fire caused by an overhead fan.  Students were relocated to a nearby high school.  WTOP

State Lawmakers Investigate Overtesting Complaints:  Lawmakers in the State House and Senate hold a hearing to investigate the common complaint of too many standardized tests in schools.  WBALTV

PGCPS Officials Look to State for School Repair Funds:  Maryland Comptroller visits Suitland High School in a bid by PGCPS to have the state provide matching funds for renovations to ailing schools.  CBSDC

Arts Integration Gains Momentum:  An initiative in PGCPS to integrate arts into the classroom has expanded from 15 to 41 schools over the last year.  This follows a national trend as research emerges showing how combining arts with academics can improve learning.  The Washington Post Continue reading

PGCPS Administration Suspends MUST Exams for Coming School Year

Teachers who have complained about too much standardized testing received a welcome announcement today. In a memorandum dated June 23, Deputy Superintendent Shawn Joseph announced that students would no longer be required to take Mandatory Unit Systemic 100_3401Tests (MUST) assessments. (See the full memorandum at the end of the post.)

Previously, both reading and mathematics MUST exams were administered at least twice during the school year to students, beginning in third grade and continuing through high school. (See one local middle school’s testing calendar here.) The recommendation to eliminate MUST tests came from the Assessment Cross-Functional Team, a team that was established by PGCPS to find ways to  reduce the amount of county-mandated standardized testing.

This announcement comes on the heels of last month’s decision by the PARCC Governing Board to reduce test time and consolidate testing windows. In the last legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly approved a commission to review Maryland’s standardized testing system.

Continue reading

Eighth Grader Asks Maryland Board of Education for Less Standardized Testing

A Prince George’s County eighth grader testified at a recent Maryland State Board of Education meeting, asking for a reduction in the amount of standardized testing for Maryland students. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Prince George’s County Public Schools or its members.

My name is Katherine Grace Harness. I am an 8th grader at Kenmoor Middle School. I have been taking standardized tests since second grade. They have become a way of life. However with the addition of the new PARCC test, people everywhere have woken up to the excessive 100_3370amount of standardized testing. We need to reduce the number of standardized tests. Fifty-five out of one hundred and eighty school days are taken up with standardized tests, not counting the unit tests each teacher may give. That means more than a quarter of the school year is taken up with testing. We take at least six different standardized tests.

Standardized tests are used for getting data. This data is not being used for improving student instruction; it merely says if students are on grade level or not. It does not diagnose the problems in the classroom students are having so that teachers can help them. It does not improve education.

Continue reading

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.)

Continue reading

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