Wednesday, July 09, 2008

DCPS says standardized test scores are up across the board

One year into the Hammer's administration and DCPS is touting an across the board rise in CAS test scores.
District of Columbia Public Schools See Significant Gains in DC CAS Scores

WASHINGTON, DC – Today at Plummer Elementary School, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso announced the preliminary results of the District of Columbia Public Schools’ (DCPS) DC Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS), an annual assessment that determines whether schools met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act.

“We began the year struggling to ensure that students had basic supplies and text books and spent the rest of the year focused on improving academic instruction,” said Mayor Fenty. "We’ve finished the year with dramatic achievement gains, thanks to the hard work of Chancellor Rhee and her team, not to mention the incredible dedication of our teachers. We want to do all we can to continue this trend of performance until we truly have an excellent school system.”

DCPS Reading & Mathematics Proficiency
Preliminary results show that both elementary and secondary schools achieved significant gains in reading and math proficiency, compared to past years.

Elementary schools scored 46 percent proficient in reading, up 8 points from last year. With a score of 40 percent proficient in math, elementary schools saw an 11-point gain. Secondary schools scores received 39 percent proficient in reading, a 9-point increase compared to 2007; and 36 percent proficient in math, also a 9-point gain.

Individual Results
Plummer ES was selected as the backdrop for the administration’s exciting announcement because it serves as a shining example of student gains. This Ward 7 school scored 40 percent proficiency in reading and 32 percent proficiency in math.

This week, principals will receive preliminary scores and will have two weeks for final review; after which individual results will be available to the public.

Other Noteworthy Achievements
Subgroups are also included in test data reports. This year, each subgroup achieved a bump in points in both reading and math. Subgroups include students who fall into these categories:
  • White
  • African American
  • Latino
  • Asian/Pacific Islander
  • American Indian
  • Socioeconomic status (students who receive free or reduced-priced meals)
  • Special Education
  • English Learners

DC CAS Test Preparation
Revamping DCPS data systems played a fundamental role in preparation for this year’s DC-CAS. In past years, DCPS issued a benchmark exam in the fall designed to predict student performance on the actual test, however, it was not properly aligned. This year, the Office of Data and Accountability ensured the benchmark exam would be a reliable indicator, enabling DCPS to identify problem areas and design supplemental instruction like Saturday Scholars to provide students with extra support.

Other initiatives created to boost scores and participation rates included a system-wide audit and verification process to ensure the correct students were being tested and through a partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department, officers made home visits to students classified as truant during testing days.

At schools like Anacostia and Ballou senior high schools, these initiatives resulted in participation rates of 97 percent and 95 percent respectively. In many cases, school communities were not even aware of their NCLB status. The Office of the Chief of Schools conducted dozens of AYP and restructuring meetings to educate school staff and parents about NCLB requirements and the
assessment process.

According to Chancellor Rhee, “These are strong initial gains for the administration’s first year. Our students performed incredibly well and this is only the beginning. As we continue to make decisions in the best interest of kids, we will continue to see academic strength and growth.”

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