DC Test Scores Rise Slightly, Now Only 25 Percent Of Students Meet Standards

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Only 25 percent of students in Washington, D.C., passed a recent performance exam testing whether they are proficient in math and English.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a product of Common Core, tests students to determine if they are “college and career ready” in the two subjects. The scores are a modest improvement over last years numbers, but many are critical over the slow progress. Others have questioned whether the tests are a valid and fair assessment of the current curriculum students are being taught, reports The Washington Post.

The tests proved to be unpopular with students, who were scheduled to take it the week before Advanced Placement (AP) tests. School Chancellor Kaya Henderson said a nearly 30 percent drop in English test scores over 2015 numbers at a highly sought-after public school were a result of students intentionally failing so they could focus on AP tests.

“Not surprisingly, many of these students felt these tests were completely unrelated to what they were studying,” Ruth Wattenberg, the state Board of Education representative from Ward 3, told The Washington Post. “There was a backlash of many students and parents who said this was ridiculous.”

Overall, proficient test scores in English rose from 25 percent in 2015 to 27 percent. Math proficiency rose from 22 percent to 25 percent, according to WJLA.

“If we had come where our scores were off the chain, you would tell us we were cheaters right?” Henderson said Monday. “But when we show you slow steady progress you say it’s not fast enough. Well, it can’t be both right?”

This is only the second year students are taking the PARCC exam, so there is little other data to compare this year’s results to. Six other states have the test, which replaced previous performance-based tests for public schools. The exam seeks to determine proficiency in Common Core standards adopted by the District in 2012.

“The gains are promising, but in no way are they sufficient,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told The Washington Post. “Some of the data suggests that we have to do more and we have to do it faster.”

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