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Students in Md. counties underperform in test for college readiness

Prince George's and Montgomery counties public school students have made gains in statewide student testing, but many students in both counties have failed to pass the tests which measure readiness for college and careers. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — Prince George’s and Montgomery counties public school students have made gains in statewide student testing, but many students in both counties have failed to pass the tests which measure readiness for college and careers.

The statewide tests, known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests, are designed to meet Common Core standards.

Students in third grade through eighth grade, as well as 10th grade, were tested in English and math. Many Prince George’s County students in most grades, and more than half the students in most grades in Montgomery County, did not meet or exceed expectations in the testing.

Scores are based on a five-point scale:

  • Level One (did not yet meet expectations);
  • Level Two (partially met expectations);
  • Level Three (approached expectations);
  • Level Four (met expectations);
  • Level Five (exceeded expectations).

Students scoring fours or fives are considered on track to be college- and career-ready.

Prince George’s County students improved their scores on all but two of the tests, and the schools’ CEO Kevin Maxwell says the gains are encouraging.

But just 26 percent of students in grades three through eight met or exceeded expectations on the English test and just 17 percent reached those thresholds in math. Among 10th graders, 32 percent passed the English language test and 16 percent passed the math test, which is Algebra 1.

Montgomery County students performed better than statewide averages in English and math. For example, 44.7 percent of third-graders met or exceeded expectations in the English test while 54.1 percent reached the passing threshold in math. Among fifth-graders, 50.4 percent of fifth-graders reached levels four or five in English — 48.6 percent in math.

The testing in Montgomery County also showed continuing performance gaps among African-American and Hispanic students.

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