DC PARCC education tests reveal progress, lingering achievement gap

WASHINGTON — New test scores released this week show a lingering achievement gap among D.C. public school students, but they also reveal steady, encouraging growth.

According to the PARCC assessments, tests that measure whether students are on track to be ready for college and careers, scores were up across almost all grades and subjects in the District.

In English, 33 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, which is a 2.8 percent increase over last year.

There was a 2.5 percent rise in math, with 29 percent of students meeting or exceeding expectations.

“This is real, meaningful improvement,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “More students are going on to the next grade ready to succeed.”

PARCC measures scores for students from the 3rd grade through high school.

Students in D.C. started using the system in 2015, and scores have been going in a positive direction over the past few years.

Since 2015, the number students on track for college and careers has gone up by 8 percent in English and 7 percent in math.

The number of students scoring in the lowest levels decreased by more than 7 percent during that period of time.

“While we are pleased to see growth in the right direction, we all know that there is much work to do,” said Bowser.

“We have to focus on making sure that every child is performing at their highest potential.”

One of the areas to which Bowser alluded was the lingering achievement gap between white students and students of color.

In English, 82 percent of white students met or exceeded expectations, compared with 25 percent of black students and 32 percent of Hispanic students.

Among white students, nearly 79 percent met or exceeded expectations in math. About 21 percent of black students and 28 percent of Hispanic students were in that category.

“Closing that gap will continue to remain our education system’s greatest challenge and will need to be a major focus of the education leaders,” said D.C. Council member David Grosso, who chairs the education committee.

Still, Grosso said he was encouraged overall.

“Year after year we have seen incremental gains in nearly every group of students, something unheard of in other states that administer this assessment.”

Read the full on D.C.’s PARCC scores.

D.C. students head back to class on Monday.

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