PARCC Results for Public Charter Schools
During a briefing with DC's City Councilmembers, DC's education leaders released the results of the PARCC. Below are Executive Director Scott Pearson's remarks at the briefing:
When the city embraced the common core and the new PARCC assessments, we did it for good reasons. We wanted a set of standards that were aligned to the requirements of a 21st century globalized economy. And we wanted an assessment that was more authentic; that assessed not just simple recall but abstract and critical thinking, that was honest about how our students were doing and, most important, that raised the bar.
We adopted these new standards and this assessment from a place of strength. Just last week we released data showing that enrollment in DC’s public schools climbed for the seventh year in a row. Graduation rates are up. According to the NAEP, the National Assessment of Education Progress, DC is the fastest improving urban school district in the nation. That’s DCPS, and public charter schools. And tomorrow we will see more NAEP results that I hope will confirm that our schools keep getting better and better.
We knew when we set this higher bar for ourselves that the early results would be sobering. And they are. But, I want to stress, that this assessment, and these standards, are the very tools we need to take our school improvement to the next level. We’re asking our fifth graders not just to multiply fractions, but to solve complex word problems involving fractions. We’re asking our tenth graders not just to write a personal reflective essay, but to write a critical essay comparing two of the Federalist Papers.
We have set the stage for the next chapter of educational improvement. Today we are at the start of that journey. It’s a sobering start, but one against which we will benchmark our progress for many years to come.
It’s also worth noting that today’s results are a quite limited set of information. First, it’s just 10th grade English, and geometry. We’ve never before just released HS data; I expect we never will again – because in the future we’ll be releasing data for all grades at the same time.
Second, it’s just one metric. At PCSB we look at this but so many others. For example, we look at year to year student growth. We look at graduation rates, passage rates in AP classes, college acceptance, and many other indicators to get a more accurate view of how our students and schools are doing. So while today’s data is important, it only tells part of the story.
With that in mind, here are the data for public charter high schools, every one of which is a non-selective school. We always look carefully at subgroup data. And, while we agree that level 4 is the threshold for college readiness, we look at all levels, particularly level 3, which is “approaching college and career readiness”.
I also want to highlight some schools with particularly strong results.
Today is one more many weeks of data we are sharing on the performance of our schools. Tomorrow we will see NAEP results. In a few weeks, we will have the PARCC results for grades 3 through 9. In December we will release our Equity reports, which show school by school data on performance, attendance, and out of school discipline broken down by subgroups. In January we will release our Performance Management Framework results for all charter schools, which fold in the many metrics I spoke about to give a school a single score.
Today’s release tells us how far we have to improve, but it also sets the stage for that improvement.
I want to close by thanking Mayor Bowser and Deputy Mayor Niles for their leadership, by thanking Hanseul Kang for building the most collaborative and supportive OSSE I have experienced in my four years in this job, and by thanking my colleague Kaya Henderson for her extraordinary work leading DCPS. Jennie, Hanseul, Kaya, and I have formed a real team. As team members do, we push each other to improve even as we work on common solutions for the city. And that is good for students and their families.