Woodrow Wilson’s PARCC scores have suffered this year, putting Wilson’s scores below the DCPS average by four percent in math and six percent in English. While the school system’s averages increased overall, showing important growth for schools around the city, Wilson and School Without Walls, two of the highest-performing schools, showed a drop in scores, particularly English.
At Wilson, student performance on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known to most as the PARCC test, has no impact on their grades. Because of this, some students didn’t feel incentivized to put effort into taking the test. Many students chose to put the test aside because it interfered with schoolwork that they thought was more important, such as AP or honors classes.
PARCC testing scores for a school are reported by percentages of the students who took the test, and in five categories: Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Approaches Expectations, Partially Meets Expectations, and Does Not Yet Meet Expectations. A school’s score is the percentage of students who took the test and were in the Exceeds Expectations or Meets Expectations categories. There is no public access to more in-depth statistics, which would reveal the exact number of students who took the test.
The number of students who skipped the test cannot fully explain why Wilson scores suffered. In fact, compared to last year’s 8 percent of students in the Exceeds Expectations and Meets Expectations categories, this year’s 19 percent is relative growth. It makes sense, then, that some students who took the test did not perform to their full ability. Students may have taken the test without realizing its importance and gone too quickly through it, or, In order to return to classes they prioritized, simply picked answers at random.
In English, the change of score distribution suggests a higher proportion of people who took the test fell into the Approached Expectations, Partially Met Expectations, and Did Not Yet Meet Expectations categories.
In math (geometry and algebra II are the two subjects tested) a different trend is present. A moderate proportion of the the school scored in the same category as last year. The students who did take the test showed significant improvement.
The higher average in Math indicates an upward trend similar to the one that other DCPS schools have exhibited this year. Wilson is sure to increase the pressure on students to take the PARCC in this upcoming year, especially since PARCC scores can be a factor in how much funding schools receive each year.
IMAGE COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS