University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Say Goodbye to the 70s- PARCC Scores are here

In The View from the OEP on November 12, 2015 at 1:57 pm

travoltaSeems like just yesterday it was the 70s:

in 2013-14, 78 percent of students scored proficient or advanced on state literacy assessments, and 72% scored proficient or advanced on state math assessments.

Today the State Board of Education approved the PARCC cut off scores for grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math, allowing us the first opportunity to see how well Arkansas students scored on the new, much discussed, and now abandoned test.

How Did Arkansas Do?

Table 1. Percent of Arkansas Students Scoring “Proficient” (Level 4) and Above on 

2014-15 PARCC Assessment

PARCC

WHOA! Only about one in three Arkansas students scored proficient or better?

Last year’s test data showed more than twice that amount!  WHAT HAPPENED?

We got a new test!

PARCC is the first assessment aligned to Arkansas’ Common Core State Standards, which set a higher bar for student learning, emphasizing the need for students to demonstrate critical thinking, problem solving, and clear writing.  PARCC results cannot be compared with the earlier Arkansas Benchmark results, both because this is a new test and a different test. This will be the only year of PARCC results, as Arkansas switched to ACT Aspire for assessment this school year.

In fact, these proficiency rates might sound familiar to you.  That is because just two weeks ago the results of the on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), were released, and the scores were very similar.

How Did Arkansas Compare to Other PARCC States?

You may remember that  one of the key benefits of PARCC was that we would be able to compare Arkansas student performance to the performance of students in other states.

So far seven states have released their scores for grades 3-8.  Note: Some additional states have released high school scores, but because of differences in testing requirements and implementation, cross-state comparison of high school results isn’t useful.

The six other states that have released (at least preliminary) PARCC results are New Mexico, Louisiana, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey and  Massachusetts.  The states are VERY different in many ways, but a key characteristic related to assessment is poverty. We would expect states with enrolling a greater percentage of students who are eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch (a proxy variable for poverty) will underperform states with fewer students eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch.  The seven PARCC states that have released scores range in FRL percentages, from New Mexico, with the greatest poverty at 68.5% of FRL students, to Massachusetts, with only 35.1% of FRL students. In the figures below, states are arranged from MOST FRL on the left to LEAST FRL on the right.  Not surprisingly, Massachusetts outperformed New Mexico.   Arkansas enrolls 60.9% of students eligible for FRL and is represented in the figures below by the RED bars.

Figure 1. Percent of Students Scoring “Proficient” (Level 4) and Above on 

2014-15 PARCC ELA Assessment

PARC ELANote- Ohio did not report scores for 3rd grade ELA

Figure 2. Percent of Students Scoring “Proficient” (Level 4) and Above on 

2014-15 PARCC Assessment

PARCC Math

Notes- New Jersey 8th grade scores are not representative.  Massachusetts allowed districts to choose between PARCC and the prior state assessment, and the split was fairly even.  Reported PARCC results for MA are based on a large representative sample, matched on achievement and demographic variables prior to score availability.

What Does This Mean?

English Language Arts

  • Arkansas is performing similarly to what we might expect, given our student population. Arkansas students outperform students from New Mexico, and are not as likely to be proficient as students from Massachusetts.
  • In many grades, Arkansas students scored similarly to students from states which have less disadvantaged student populations (Illinois and Ohio).
  • Interestingly, Louisiana students outperformed Arkansas students in almost every grade, even though they are more likely to be disadvantaged.

Math

  • Arkansas is performing similarly to what we might expect, given our student population. Arkansas students outperform students from New Mexico, and are not as likely to be proficient as students from Massachusetts.
  • Interestingly, Louisiana students outperformed (or equaled) Arkansas students in every grade, even though they are more likely to be disadvantaged.
  • 8th grade math scores are variable, perhaps in part because some advanced students completed high school level assessments (Algebra or Math I) instead of 8th grade math.

How Does PARCC Compare to NAEP?

The scores are very similar, but there are some trends in relationships between the scores.

In Reading, PARCC proficiency rates are typically a little bit higher than NAEP. Arkansas 4th graders were 2 percentage points more likely to be proficient on PARCC, and Arkansas 8th graders were 5 percentage points more likely.

In Math, PARCC proficiency rates  are typically a little bit lower than NAEP at 4th grade, and quite varied at 8th grade. Arkansas 4th and 8th  graders were 8 percentage points less likely to be proficient on PARCC than on NAEP.

So What Now?

Arkansas has gotten a lot of feedback about it’s education system recently- and while it isn’t great news, we need to be sure we have the right takeaways as we continue to move Arkansas education forward.

  1. Face the Music: PARCC and NAEP scores give us a clear picture of how Arkansas students perform compared to other states.  Both assessments are sending the same message- about one in three Arkansas students are ‘on grade level’.
  2. Learn the Steps: Arkansas teachers, students and parents need frequent, high quality data to provide a clear picture of where students are academically.
  3. Practice the Moves: Teachers need training on how to EFFECTIVELY use assessment data for their students to transform the instruction in the classroom.
  4. Find a Partner: Arkansas should consider why Louisiana is consistently outperforming us.
  5. Strut Your Stuff!  We look forward to seeing Arkansas students demonstrate improved performance!  For comparable data, we will likely need to wait until NAEP 2017.
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: