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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Announces 2012 DC CAS Results

Thursday, July 26, 2012
Scores First under ESEA Waiver, Show Impact of Pre-K Participation to Increased Student Proficiency

PLEASE NOTE: The 2012 DC CAS results have been altered by test integrity investigations since they were originally completed.  You can find out more information here.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – District students participating in pre-kindergarten programming demonstrated gains in overall proficiency by 3rd and 4th grade on the 2012 District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS), according to statewide results announced today by Mayor Vincent C. Gray and released by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Results show slight increases for both reading and math in multiple grades District-wide and represent students from both D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) and D.C. Public Charter Schools (PCS).

“Today’s results are proof positive of the impact pre-K participation is having on education in the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Gray. “The growth from our third and fourth grade students is directly proportionate to the expansion of our early learning initiatives, and my administration will continue to do what is best for District children to successfully begin their educational journey.”

As D.C. Council Chairman in 2007, Mayor Gray introduced the Public Education Reform Amendment Act (PERAA) and committed early-childhood programming, resources and support to community-based organizations, DCPS and PCS – enabling D.C. to become one of the nation’s only jurisdictions with such widespread access to pre-K.

“DC CAS scores are at a five-year high for District students, which is something we are excited to build upon,” said State Superintendent of Education Hosanna Mahaley, adding that in 2012 District 4th graders showed the greatest score growth and were the first kindergarten cohort tested under PERAA, which officially established OSSE as the State Education Agency for the District of Columbia.

“While the outcomes show where we still must improve, this year’s results allow us to assess exactly what is needed for District schools to accelerate improvements in student learning and achievement,” Mahaley said.

2012 DC CAS results also mark the District’s inaugural assessment under an expanded accountability system awarded last week by the U.S. Department of Education, waiving certain provisions of the federal “No Child Left Behind” law and allowing OSSE to use flexible measures for evaluating school performance and design need-based interventions to evaluate student growth.

Overall, DCPS scores showed DC CAS growth in math (up 2.8 percent from 2011) and science (up 5.3 percent), and reversed a two-year trend of declining reading scores (with a 0.5 percent increase).

“I’m very proud of, and excited about, the growth we saw this year, on the whole. I’m encouraged by the five-year progress that our students have made, but I also know that we have to move further and faster,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “These scores present an opportunity for all our schools to replicate success where we can and make real changes where we need improvement.”

PCS students displayed a 1.4 percent growth in math scores from the previous year and, despite a slight 0.9 percent decline in science and 0.3 percent decline in reading, scored above the D.C. state average in all subject areas.

“Although we would have preferred higher overall growth, the District of Columbia’s charter school sector once again outperformed the state average while serving a higher percentage of low-income students; this is something we will continue to build upon,” said Brian W. Jones, Chairman of the D.C. Public Charter School Board.

2012 DC CAS reading and composition assessments were also aligned to the Common Core State Standards for the first time, making the District of Columbia – a state member of the national Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) – the second state in the nation to do so. Mahaley noted that, in contrast to many states that often suffer a drop in statewide test results when switching to new testing criteria, 2012 DC CAS scores remained steady. She and Mayor Gray praised the District’s designated “Reward Schools” for demonstrating proficiency and growth for all students, with achievement gaps below the state average across all subgroups under OSSE’s new accountability system.

“We are especially proud of our Reward Schools for their DC CAS performance this year, because they have set a positive example on behalf of District schools and in support of smarter accountability,” she added.

OSSE prepared for the 2012 DC CAS by providing interactive teacher trainings, webinars and symposia to over 1,000 District instructors, along with expanded inventory, chain-of-command and return-of-materials protocols to safeguard test materials pre-and-post-delivery. The statewide exam was administered April 17-27 at 243 schools and taken by 32,624 students throughout the District of Columbia.

Complete 2012 DC CAS results, including five-year test results history and scoring breakdowns, are available online at

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