PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Education on Tuesday released its student PARCC assessment results for 2015.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments revealed disturbingly low English Language and Math literacy scores for Rhode Island students overall. Students across the state were tested in the spring in the first full evaluation under the PARCC system.
Only 30 percent of the near 76,000 students tested met standards and only 6 percent of Rhode Island students tested as exceeding.
“The PARCC results released today are disappointing, but not surprising. The results confirm what we already know from Rhode Island’s NAEP scores, our high school and college graduation rates, and our remediation rate: too many of our children do not have the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy,” Raimondo said. “Our kids deserve better. Improving our schools is essential to turning our economy around. The only way young people will be able to succeed in today’s economy is if they have the skills necessary for high-quality, family-supporting jobs.”
According to PARCC, 11 states and the District of Columbia participated in the 2015 testing. Rhode Island joined Massachusetts as the only two New England states participating.
Although the controversial transition from traditional standardized NECAP testing to the PARCC system drew ire from educators, teachers unions and parents, state leaders drew lines to similarities in results.
“These latest results track closely with previous data from other assessments such as the SAT and with college-readiness rates, and these results show, once again, that we have work to do,” Kenneth Wagner, state education commissioner said in a written statement. “We must prepare our students for their futures with challenging coursework and great teaching tailored to their strengths and interests. If we stay focused and work together, we will be successful.”
Wagner provided a list of future initiatives to be implemented in support of advancing test scores and preparing students for future success.
Among the bullet points were plans to invest in Rhode Island’s teachers and school administration, the promise of rigorous coursework for students; and a pathway to partnering for parents and families.
Board of Education Chair, Barbara Cottam also saw the results as a catalyst for improvement.
“The 2015 PARCC assessments results provide another data point telling the same story – we have a lot of opportunity for improvement and success,” said Barbara S. Cottam, Chair of the Board of Education. “We now must provide all students with access to high-quality learning opportunities, from childhood through adulthood.”
The results looked grim even when considering the assessment’s maiden voyage and a portion of students’ exercising the right to opt-out of the exam.
Numbers showed that of the 283 Rhode Island schools that participated, only 14 schools had 70 percent or more of their students meet or exceed expectations on the English language arts assessment. Accordingly, only 4 schools had 70 percent or more of their students meet or exceed expectations on the mathematics assessment.
In alignment with prior standardized testing, students in low income and at risk communities throughout the state scored consistently lower than those in affluent communities.
With only 36 percent of students overall in grades 3 through 10 meeting expectations in English language arts, and 25 percent meeting expectations in mathematics under the new testing, the need for reevaluation and improvement of the state’s education platform was clear.
Wagner vowed to empower RIDE to “visit every school district and charter public school in the state to build the partnerships that produce results.”