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Mayor Bowser Celebrates Fourth Consecutive Year of Improvement on PARCC Assessment

Monday, August 19, 2019
Gains at DC Public Schools and DC Public Charter Schools Show More Students on Track for College and Career Readiness

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and education leaders in the District of Columbia announced that students in the District continue to show improvements in educational achievement for the fourth consecutive year, as measured by the 2019 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment. Gains in both English language arts (ELA) and mathematics show that more public school students in DC are on track for college and career readiness.

“We’re proud of our students and educators for continuing to achieve at higher levels. But with these results in hand, we’re also moving forward with a renewed sense of urgency to ensure all students are making gains at a pace that will set them up for success both inside and outside the classroom,” said Mayor Bowser. “We’re going to be looking closely at what schools like Whittier – that are making tremendous gains – are doing. We’re also going to be introducing new systems to support our educators and sending more resources into the school communities that need them most.”

The District of Columbia has seen continued, steady increases on the annual statewide assessments for the fourth year in a row – up 12.3 percentage points in ELA and 8.4 percentage points in math since 2015, when DC public school and public charter school students began taking the PARCC.

In 2019, the percentage of students scoring level 4 or 5 in ELA rose 3.8 percentage points, increasing from 33.3 percent in 2018 to 37.1 percent in 2019. The percentage of students scoring level 4 or 5 in math rose 1.1 percentage points, increasing from 29.4 percent in 2018 to 30.5 percent in 2018. Levels 4 and 5 indicate that a student is on track to be ready for college and career pathways after high school.

In addition to overall gains, students with disabilities, English language learners, students who are at-risk, Black/African-American students, and Hispanic/Latino students have all shown improvements in annual assessment results. Over the past five years, Hispanic/Latino students have made double-digit gains in ELA, improving 15.5 percentage points, and improving 10.5 percentage points in math, and have outpaced statewide gains. Black/African-American students also have made gains, improving 10.8 percentage points in ELA and 5.9 percentage points in math.

“While we should celebrate the real progress we have made as a city, our results also highlight that we need to do more to support all of our students,” said Superintendent Hanseul Kang, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). “We know that all of our students have incredible potential to learn and succeed at high levels, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure all students have the supports they need to be successful.”

Both DC Public Schools (DCPS) and DC public charter schools (DCPCS) saw improvement. DCPS schools improved from 35.1 to 39.9 percent at 4+ on ELA – a 4.8 percentage point increase – and 30.5 to 32.4 percent on math – a 1.9 percentage point increase.

“I am proud that DCPS saw gains across student backgrounds, including socioeconomic status, race, ward, and gender,” said DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee. “These gains are a testament to the incredible work of our educators, and I thank them for their commitment to our students. As we head into the new school year, I look forward to implementing new and innovative supports for our students so that they have the resources they need to succeed.”

The charter sector improved from 31.5 to 34.2 percent at 4+ on ELA – a 2.7 percentage point increase – and 28.4 to 28.7 percent on math – a 0.3 percentage point increase.

“We are proud of our students, teachers and school leaders for the success and progress public charter school students continue to make on the PARCC Assessment,” said Scott Pearson, Executive Director of the DC Public Charter School Board. “Since the beginning of the Bowser Administration, the percentage of public charter school students who score a 4+ and are on track for college and career increased by a third - from 23.8 to 31.5.”

Mayor Bowser made the 2019 PARCC results announcement at Whittier Education Campus, a Ward 4 school that made outstanding progress in both subjects. The school, which serves students in pre-K 3 through grade 8, recorded overall double-digit gains in both ELA and math scores, with a 17.2 percentage point increase in the number of students scoring a 4 or 5 in ELA and an 11.7 percentage point increase in the number of students scoring a 4 or 5 in math. Whittier also posted strong results with double-digit ELA and math increases for Black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino students as well as students with disabilities.

The PARCC assessments, administered in the spring of each school year, measure students’ performance in ELA and math in grades 3-8 and high school. The test has five performance levels, with level 4 and level 5 indicating readiness for college and career. The number of students in grades 3-8 who scored at or above level 4 increased by 3.6 percentage points in ELA and 0.6 percent in math, and the number of students in grades 9-12 increased by 4.4 percentage points in ELA and 4.8 percentage points in math.

Schools will receive individual student reports by the end of this week, and will then distribute them to families. OSSE has prepared a suite of resources, available at osse.dc.gov/parcc, to help schools, parents, and teachers understand the assessment and results.

To view the full report, please visit the OSSE website: http://results.OSSE.dc.gov.