BERLIN – Statewide testing data released last week show that Worcester County schools surpassed all other counties in five assessments administered in the 2016-2017 school year.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) exams are administered on a yearly basis to students in grades three through eight and high school.
Students are tested on English Language Arts (ELA), English 10, math and Algebra 1 skills and can score among the five levels of college and career readiness.
These levels range from one, did not meet expectations, to five, exceeding expectations.
The results from last year’s test scores show that students in grades three, four, five and 11 received the highest English Language Arts (ELA) and English scores and eighth-grade students received the highest math scores among all other counties in Maryland, according to Karen Baker, the school system’s local accountability coordinator.
“I think overall we did really well,” she said.
According to the data, all grade levels within the county excelled.
In ELA, 58.1 percent of students in grades 3-8 scored a 4 or 5, 17.5 percentage points above the state average in the same grade levels.
In English 10, 55.9 percent of students demonstrated college and career readiness (level 4 or 5), four percentage points higher than last year and above the state average of 49.3 percent.
In math, 48.6 percent of students in grades 3-8 scored a 4 or 5, a 1 percent growth from the year prior and 15 percentage points above the state average.
In Algebra 1, 49.8 percent of students demonstrated college and career readiness, 13 percentage points above the state average.
Dr. John Quinn, the school system’s chief academic officer, said Worcester County tested above the state average in all testing areas.
“In that area, we were very pleased,” he said.
Though test scores among third-grade students remain higher than state averages, Quinn said the school system did notice a slight dip in their test scores. He attributes the downward trend to smaller student populations in the central and southern end of the county.
“If one or two students do poorly, it can impact the percentages,” he said.
Quinn said that unlike former assessments, which focused on students close to passing, the PARCC exams allow educators to focus on improving the test scores of all students.
“Our hope is that each year more and more people join the ranks of college and career ready,” he said.
Quinn noted that fewer students are receiving lower scores.
“In most PARCC test areas I’m seeing fewer ones, which I’m happy about,” he said.
Lou Taylor, superintendent of schools, applauded the students and faculty for their efforts.
“I am incredibly proud of our students and faculty who have achieved such success in the newly released student assessment results,” he wrote. “The remarkable performance by students across our county certainly validates the diligence and dedication of our educators. It is because of the strong partnership among our students and their families, our teachers, school and administrative leaders that resulted in these high levels of achievement. Additionally, we could not achieve these results without the unwavering support from our Board of Education and County Commissioners.”