Dr. Elizabeth Curry, the Gloucester City School District’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, recently gave a presentation to the Gloucester City Board of Education (BOE) about the district’s total population scores from the spring, 2015 PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments.
She said that it will probably take more than two months for the district to receive all of the results, and that results are coming out by grade level, by section, and by category.
Students took the PARCC English Language Arts test in grades three through eleven. In Mathematics, grades three through eight took the assessment. Students also took Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra II, depending upon their enrollment in a particular course not by their grade level, Dr. Curry said.
She stated that the Mathematics piece is complicated because grade level may not equate to the test for the assessment. “Some students in New Jersey take Algebra I as low as sixth grade. So, if you are in sixth grade and you took Algebra 1, your numbers don’t count for sixth grade, they count for Algebra I.”
Speaking about Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2, she said those courses could include students in sixth through twelfth grade.
This year, students will receive two types of scores. The first score is leveled and that will be on a scale of 1-5.
If a student receives level 1, that indicates the student has not met the grade level expectations. Level 2 means the student has partially met grade level expectations. Level 3 means the student is approaching the grade level. Level 4 means the student is meeting grade level expectations. 5 means the student exceeds.
Students will also receive a numeric score in both Language Arts and Mathematics.
The first column (see graphic) is the number of students who participated. The next five equal the percentage of students in that grade who achieved that level indicated.
Images provided by GCSD.
Dr. Curry said: “We have to be very careful because the State also gave us how students across State of New Jersey did. That indicates that 44 percent of the students achieved grade level, but the purpose of this assessment data is not comparison.”
For the first year of the PARCC assessment, the data has been established and the information provided to school districts will serve as an initial benchmark to set where to begin, she explained.
“Since the assessment was changed, the State did their first year of assessment to set an initial benchmark. Before the end of this school year, we will receive a percentage indicating what our objective for next year is,” she added.
Dr. Curry commended the students for demonstrating endurance and for maintaining positive attitudes. “For some of our students, they took assessments twice as many days as they have in the past. At the high school level, students sat through days of PARCC assessments and then almost immediately after that, took their AP test and their college test.”
As for the percentages, Curry stated that they vary: “Some we exceeded expectations. Some were slightly under. For all intents and purposes, we do not know how many students are in the one percent when it talks about the State. So there is no way to say this is a good number to make that assumption. So we have to proceed carefully.”
In order to help our parents and our community understand exactly the results they will be receiving, Curry said information will be uploaded on the district’s website.
“It will take a little while for all of us to become accustomed to looking at the data in this form,” she said.
Following the presentation, Principal Sean Gorman said that over 97 percent of the senior class have met the state graduation testing requirement. He said: “The State says you can either pass the ELA section of the PARCC or achieve a 400 or better on the SAT or a 40 or better on the PSAT reading comprehension. 97% of our seniors have already met that.”
*Article originally appeared in the December 17, 2015 edition of the Gloucester City News.