Students in the Nation’s Capital continue to make relatively strong achievement gains, according to results announced this week on the PARCC assessment. But despite this progress, only about one in four students overall performed on grade level as aligned with the Common Core State Standards used in District of Columbia schools, and urgency for high-quality educational opportunities remains a priority.
Student outcomes were generally improved in this second year DC students took the online-administered tests. While the top performing and fastest-improving schools served students from each of the city’s eight wards, results remain uneven overall. For the tenth straight year, students attending public charter schools tested at or above city averages.
The number of DC charter school students meeting or exceeding academic expectations in English Language Arts grew 4 percent since 2015. Citywide, public charter and DC Public Schools students combined posted a 2 percent increase. The DC charter school sector is considered one of the strongest in the country, serving 39,000 students, or 45 percent of all students in the city. Of the charter school students tested, over 90 percent are students of color, 82 percent are eligible for free or reduced price meals, and 19 percent receive special education services.
Among other significant trends in student outcomes this year:
- In 8th grade, DC charter school students meeting or exceeding academic expectations in English Language Arts increased from 27 to 33 percent. Citywide, eighth graders increased from 25 to 29 percent.
- Students from economically disadvantaged households attending charter schools met or exceeded expectations in English Language Arts at a rate of 23 percent. Citywide they did so at a rate of 18 percent. In math, these rates showed a similar pattern: 22 percent for charter school students, 17 percent citywide.
- These improvements were seen in virtually every student population, including for black students, English Language Learners and special education students. Latino students saw the strongest gains – up 7 percent from 2015-16.
Within the charter sector, a strong diversity of different school instructional models showed powerful gains. Nowhere was this clearer than at the high school level. The seven most improved charter high schools are located in five different wards, and collectively serve students from all eight wards as a result of the open enrollment required of all charter schools.
School Quality Reports for every public charter school will be published in November. The DC Public Charter School Board uses student achievement on PARCC as one indicator, while also using a wide range of other measures of school quality, including the academic growth of individual students over time and reenrollment rates, which are not yet available.
Find Archived Articles: