Wicomico, Worcester Improve Standardized Testing Scores

BERLIN – The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) released last year’s testing scores last week, showing strong improvements for both Wicomico and Worcester county students.

These students, grades three through eight and high school, are tested on their English Language Arts (ELA), English 10 and math skills and are placed among the five levels of college and career readiness.

These levels range from one, did not meet expectations, to five, exceeding expectations.

All schools within Wicomico County improved its testing scores for fifth and seventh-grade math and sixth- grade ELA.

Overall, Wicomico County made significant gains greater than or equal to five percentage points in third through eighth grade math, and fourth, sixth, seventh and 10th grade ELA and English.

Worcester County schools continue to exceed state averages for college and career readiness in all tested categories.

More than half of all students in third through eighth and 10th grade scored at levels four and five for ELA and English.

Officials saw these ELA scores increase four percentage points from the prior year.

Grades three, four, six and eight had higher ELA scores than any other county in the state.

Third-graders also outranked every other county in the state with its math scores.

Specifically, 69 percent and 62 percent of all third-graders met or exceeded college and career readiness in math and ELA, respectively.

Additionally, many other grade levels within the county achieved impressive accolades.

Seventh-grade ELA and fourth-grade math scores ranked second in the state.

Seventh and eighth-grade math, and Algebra I scores ranked fourth in the state.

These rankings bolstered the overall math scores in third through eighth- grade, which improved six percentage points from the previous year.

Currently, Wicomico County schools fall below state averages in almost every category.

However, officials say the amount of students who met or exceeded expectations for college and career readiness is growing at a faster rate than the state.

“We are very pleased with the progress that our students made on the 2016 PARCC Assessments, but we do recognize that there are still areas in which we need to continue to help our students improve,” Wicomico Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Dr. Margo Handy said.

Worcester County Superintendent of Schools Jerry Wilson says the scores validate the students’ and educators’ efforts, but the job is still not done.

“It is through strong leadership at our schools, the collaborative work of our school teams and the efforts of our students, their families and the support from our community that all contributed to these high levels of achievement,” Wilson said. “At the same time, we will use these results to improve opportunities for students who are not college and career ready.”

The state fully implemented the PARCC testing system in 2014, replacing older testing methods that did not accurately evaluate student readiness, according to state officials.

Currently, Maryland is one of 11 fully participating states to use PARCC testing.

These tests are administered at the end of each academic school year.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.