D.C. students continue to improve in language arts and math

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Photo courtesy of dcschoolhub.com.

By: Davis Kennedy and Carlo Massimo

The percentage of District public and charter school students who are on track to advance to the next grade or successfully graduate from high school increased last year, according to results from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam. Students took this test last April and May.

Still, only 33.3 percent of students passed the language arts exam, an 8.5 percent increase from the previous school year. And only 29.4 percent passed the math exam, a 7.3 percent increase. This is the third consecutive year of increases. PARCC scores were broken down by ethnic groups, genders, wards, and grade levels.

Furthermore, Asian-Americans’ success rate percentage increased from 66.2 percent to 71.6 percent in language arts. And their math scores went up from 64.5 percent to 69.8 percent. African-Americans’ success rate percentage went from 22 percent to 24.7 percent in language arts and from 18.6 percent to 20.7 percent in math.

The share of Hispanic students who succeeded jumped from 28.9 percent in language arts to 32 percent and from 26 percent to 28.2 percent in math. Caucasians’ success rate increased from 82.09 percent to 82.1 percent. Their math percentages went up from 75.5 percent to 78.8 percent.

Kimberly Martin, Wilson High School’s principal, said Wilson and the District both saw a “big jump in ELA results”. “Big shout out to the math department,” she said. Martin also mentioned that the District and Wilson “continue to show growth across almost all wards and in most demographics.”

Furthermore, third-graders had a success rate of 30.8 percent in language arts and 40.8 percent in math. Fourth-grade students had a success rate of 35.1 percent in language arts and 34.2 percent in math.

Seventh-graders’ success percentage improved in language arts (32.2 percent to 39.1 percent) and in math (19.5 percent to 25.1 percent). Eighth-graders improved in language arts (30.2 percent to 33.3 percent ) and in math (20.9 percent to 25.9 percent). High school students saw a percentage increase in language arts (27.3 percent to 29.3 percent) and in math (12.9 percent to 13.6 percent). 

However, Martin said residents “cannot pretend there is no achievement gap.” “We also can’t pretend we’ve mastered the complexities of class and race in D.C. schools,” she said.

Moreover, Ward 3 students had the highest success rate in language arts (72 percent) and math (64.4 percent). But students in all eight wards managed to increase their success rates. According to Martin, Wilson is “thinking outside the box and inside the box” to confront the demographic achievement gap.

Except for Hispanics, female test scores were higher than males in both language arts and math. Overall, females had a success rate of 31 percent in language arts and 32 percent in math. Males’ success rates were 27.9 percent in language arts and 29 percent in math. Among high school students, 35.9 percent of females were successful in language arts. But 40.4 percent of females were successful in math. For males, only 22.7 percent were successful in language arts and 23.6 percent in math.  

The overall participation rate among students was 98.2 percent for language arts and 98.1 percent in math. Results will soon be available by school and by groups of students within each school. Families who have not received their children’s individual scores should reach out to the school they attended in the 2017-2018 school year.