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OSSE Releases DC Statewide Assessment Results After Two-Year Pandemic Pause

Friday, September 2, 2022
Results, which show declines in English language arts and math, reinforce in-person learning is best for most students

Today, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) released the results of the District’s statewide assessments in English language arts (ELA) and math. These assessments include the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA), taken by District students in grades 3-8 and high school in spring 2022. After suspending the statewide assessment for two years due to the pandemic, the results confirm anticipated academic declines in math and ELA. These results will help education leaders, educators, community stakeholders, and families understand where students are academically to drive further recovery efforts.

"We knew that the pandemic had a significant impact on our students, particularly for students with the greatest need, and we have been diligently working with public and public charter schools across the District to ensure our students have all the supports they need not just to recover but prosper in school," said State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant. "It was critical for us to return to in-person learning as soon as it was safe, and why we are making historic investments in our students and their academic recovery to ensure these numbers represent a new baseline from which the District will continue to recover."

The PARCC assessments, administered in spring 2022, 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 a student meets or exceeds expectations for their grade level. The number of students in grades 3-8 who scored at or above level 4 decreased by 8 percentage points and 10 percentage points in math, and the number of students in grades 9-12 who scored at or above level 4 fell 1 percentage point in ELA and 8 percentage points in math.

Students were assessed in the 2021-22 school year for the first time since the 2018-19 school year. Between these statewide assessments, students experienced more than a year of distance learning. When students returned for in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year, they faced significant mental health and social-emotional challenges which further impacted their learning and outcomes.

To directly address these outcomes, the District is investing nearly $1 billion of federal stimulus funds to support the recovery and restoration of the public education and child care sectors. These multi-year investments, which OSSE oversees, will support the District through September 2024.

This week, OSSE also launched a new Recovery & Restoration Investment web portal ( highlighting federal stimulus spending at the local education agency (LEA) level and spotlighting state investments across seven strategic focus areas. This resource is part of OSSE's continued efforts to create transparency and shared understanding around the planned use of OSSE's federal stimulus funds to drive recovery and restoration.

These recovery and restoration investments include a multi-year influx of nearly $40 million into high-impact tutoring and a number of other initiatives designed specifically to accelerate learning and address the interrupted learning during COVID. Almost 2,200 students have already engaged in high-impact tutoring in FY22 through grants administered by OSSE, with an anticipated 4,000 students participating in FY23. OSSE will provide high-impact tutoring services to more than 8,000 students in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.

OSSE has also invested recovery funds to improve high-quality instructional materials, support extended learning time, and launch a Family Resource Center for students with disabilities, among other investments.

"Having a clearer picture of where our students need the most help will allow us to hyper-focus our efforts to keep our students and educators safe, support their wellbeing, and help them recover academically from the pandemic,” said State Superintendent Grant. “These results reinforce that in-person learning is best for most students, and we are grateful for the city’s shared commitment to opening schools and keeping them open for the 2021-22 school year while remaining committed to student and staff safety, as we know the losses would have been even greater otherwise.”

The 2021-22 school year was unlike any previous school year – students returned to their classrooms after two years of uncertainty and more than a full school year of distance learning, which makes comparing 2021-22 assessment results to prior years a challenge. Below are some trends in the 2022 results:

  • Consistent with national trends, the math proficiency rate dropped substantially across all grades, and by more than 10 percentage points for most race/ethnicity groups.
  • The proficiency rate of at-risk students, those considered at-risk based on their Temporary Assistance for Needed Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), homeless, overage, or Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) or foster care status, decreased more than the rate of not at-risk students, in both math and ELA.
  • ELA PARCC proficiency rates declined across all grades levels, but with bigger declines in grades 3-8.

"Two years of distance learning came with many challenges, but our schools and staff did a tremendous job in helping our students come back to school and open our classrooms," said DC Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee. "These assessment results affirm our commitment this school year to go deeper in creating joyful and rigorous learning experiences to accelerate the success of our students. We’ll continue to prioritize the needs of our students holistically: supporting their academic progress along with their emotional and social development."

“We all know from first-hand experience that the last two and a half years have been very difficult for our students due to the pandemic and the frequent disruptions throughout the school year,” said Dr. Michelle J. Walker-Davis, executive director, DC Public Charter School Board. “These test results give school leaders, teachers, and DC PCSB a better understanding of where our students are performing well and where we need to make improvements, so our students make progress in the current and future school years.”

Schools will receive individual student reports in September and distribute them to families. OSSE has prepared a suite of resources at to help schools, parents, and teachers understand the assessment and results.

To view the full report, please visit the OSSE website: