Maryland PARCC Results At A Glance: English Scores Up, Math Down

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Maryland school districts saw mixed results on statewide standardized testing in 2018, according to new data released statewide on Tuesday.

Scores on English Language Arts PARCC exams increased at every grade level in the state, but math scores decreased in most grades.

The figures were presented to the Maryland State Board of Education at its monthly meeting in Baltimore on Tuesday.

“We have some good news to celebrate in terms of our English Language Arts results, but we have some real work to do in terms of our mathematics results,” State Superintendent Karen B. Salmon told the board.

Students are considered “proficient” by state standards if they score a level 4 or 5 on the PARCC exams.

About 43.7 percent of students in grades 3-8 were considered proficient in English Language Arts in 2018. Worcester County had the highest percentage of students scoring proficient, at 61.9 percent. The city of Baltimore had the lowest rate of proficiency, 19.7 percent, though the figure represents a 2.2-point increase from a year earlier. All counties saw a steady or increasing proficiency rate in English Language Arts scores for grades 3-8 2018, with the largest increase in Allegany County, of 4.6 percentage points.

Source: Maryland State Department of Education

Results were mixed for English Language Arts scores in 10th grade. Calvert County had the highest proficiency rate, at 73.1 percent (up 7.6 percentage points from 2017). Baltimore City had a proficiency rate of 16 percent, which was a 2.2-point increase. Two counties saw proficiency rates drop: Montgomery, which was down 3.5 percentage points, and Talbot, which saw a decrease of 6.5 percentage points. Statewide the proficiency rate was level at 42.6 percent.

Source: Maryland State Department of Education

Math scores in the state are on a mostly downward trend.

In 3rd through 8th grades, scores were down about 1.1 percent overall, with a larger drop of 3.4 percent in 8th grade. The proficiency rate for students taking the Algebra I exam was down 4 points to 27.2 percent.

Source: Maryland State Department of Education

Fourteen counties had decreasing scores in grade 3-8 math, while other counties remained level. No county saw a statistically significant increase in math scores for students in 8th grade or below.

Source: Maryland State Department of Education

Algebra I proficiency decreased or remained steady in most counties. Kent County was the only jurisdiction to see an increase, of 6.2 percent. Charles County saw the steepest proficiency decrease, of 11.5 percent points.

Source: Maryland State Department of Education

Board member David M. Steiner, director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, said similar decreases are being seen throughout the country.

“There’s no simple answer here,” Steiner said. “I have no particular comfort in saying that other states are seeing similar results, but it is a national problem.”

Salmon echoed his statements.

“We did check with other states that administered the PARCC assessment and the results are similar,” she said, adding that Maryland will be rolling out new exams developed by Maryland educators for this coming school year.

Members of the board also expressed concern that the statewide achievement gap persists.

In 3rd through 8th grades, African-American and Hispanic students saw smaller decreases in proficiency rates on math tests than white students and the statewide average, but still lag behind their peers.

Source: Maryland State Department of Education

In 10th grade, English Language Arts scores inched up statewide by 0.2 percent. But American Indian, African- American and Hispanic students had proficiency rates lower than the state average in 2018.

Source: Maryland State Department of Education

The figures presented to the board on Tuesday are preliminary. School-level data is expected to be released on the Maryland Report Card website by the end of this week.

The state board plans a deeper conversation about state proficiency scores at their September meeting.

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Danielle E. Gaines
Danielle Gaines covered government and politics for Maryland Matters for two years before moving into an editing position. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post ― as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at The Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.

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