DECATUR – The test scores from the PARCC exam have finally been released, and the Decatur Public School District says their results aren’t where they want them to be.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers’ test was given to third through 12th graders. Statewide, about 33 percent of students met or exceeded expectations, but here in Decatur, only 13 percent of students met that mark. Chief Instructional Officer Ed Moyer, Jr. says he doesn’t like what he sees.
“I’m not sure the numbers are an accurate reflection of where our students are at, but it’s still not great,” says Moyer. “When you look at some of our comparable districts geographically, we don’t hold up very well.”
The PARCC results, coupled with those from the MAP testing, aren’t very promising when it comes to Decatur students being ready for the next level of education. However, Moyer says it gives them a point of reference.
“This gives us a better, total picture of how our kids are and where we need to help them,” he says. “This is a base line for us, and now we have something comparable for next year.”
Students were tested on their English/Language Arts and Mathematics knowledge, and it appears Math may be a problem area for the district, especially for grades 8 and up. Only 9 percent of 8th graders met expectations, while 43 percent did not even partially meet expectations. As for high schoolers, it was 1 percent and 41 percent, respectively. Moyer says a couple of things could have lead to those numbers.
“Math performance state wide is lower than what it should be,” he says. “They took this test online, and students had limited access to a calculator. They also had to show their work, and typing out a math problem is a challenge on its own.”
Perhaps even more unappealing is that the test results show 31 percent of students did not meet expectations at all, compared to 14 percent state wide. While Moyer says that number certainly needs to go up, he thinks the test was pretty difficult.
“The kids took this test twice last year — once in March and again in early May,” Moyer says. “There is a certain amount of fatigue that sets in at the end of the year, and this is the first time we did a massive, online test. It was a much more rigorous test and I don’t think our kids were quite ready for it.”
Moyer says this was their “test run,” but the results will need to go up.
“I don’t think we were going to be satisfied with anything we got because we didn’t have anything to compare it to,” he says. “Next year, if we haven’t improved, I will certainly be more disappointed.”
If you would like to view the full results for DPS-61, click here.