Between 33 to 38 percent of third through eighth graders in Illinois “met expectations” or “exceeded expectations” on the language arts part of the 2015 Common Core test. So in Illinois about one-third passed.
Across the border in Ohio, students who took the exact same test. About 40 percent of them scored at the same levels as in Illinois. However, Ohio is saying that an acceptable score is lower than in Illinois. Using Ohio’s terminology, 60 or more percent of students scored at “proficient” levels. So in Ohio about two-thirds passed.
What gives? In Ohio if a student is approaching a C score on the test, he passes. In Illinois, if he has the same score, he fails.
A failing score means a student is not ready for the next grade, and if he continues at the same rate, he will not be prepared to enter college or a career.
The test maker, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), did not identify what score it considers to be a minimally passing score. It left that to the states. However, it did divide test scores into five broad categories:
• Level 1, Did not yet meet expectations (a minimum score of 650);
• Level 2: Partially met expectations (a minimum score of 700);
• Level 3: Approached expectations (a minimum score of 725);
• Level 4: Met expectations (a minimum score of 750); and
• Level 5: Exceeded expectations (a minimum score of 810).
• A perfect score is 850.
Illinois defines a passing score as either a Level 4 or Level 5; Ohio defines passing as a Level 3 (although Ohio uses different terminology, calling a Level 3 score “proficient.”)
My dictionary defines “proficient” as having an advanced degree of competence; an expert. Yet students scoring “proficient”in Ohio do not know what is expected in their grade level. Semantics?
Before the test scores were announced, Ohio dropped out of future PARCC testing.
Other states which used the PARCC tests have announced results using the PARCC categories. Their results, as hyperlinked from a PARCC website, follow. Not all states reveal complete data to make a one-on-one comparison. Some states had large numbers of students not take the tests. Direct comparisons are difficult to make considering all the variables. All scores shown below are for language arts only.
- Arkansas’ results show a range of 54 to 66 percent of students scoring at a Level 3, 4 or 5; and a range of 29 to 35 percent of students scoring at a Level 4 or 5 in grades 3 to 8.
- Colorado’s results show 37 to 41 percent of students in grades 3 to high school met or exceeded” expectations. Definitions of “met or exceeded” were not provided.
- Louisiana’s results show a range of 64 to 74 percent of students scoring at a level 3, 4 or 5; and 33 to 40 percent scoring at a Level 4 or 5.
- Maryland’s results for 11th graders show 39.7 percent scoring at a Level 4 or 5.
- Massachusetts’ results show 60 percent of students in grades 3 to 8 scoring at Level 4 or 5; and 83% scoring at a Level 3 or better.
- Mississippi’s results show 49.4 percent of high school students scoring at a Level 4 or 5; and 72.7 percent scoring at a Level 3 or better.
- New Jersey’s results of grade 3 through high school students show 40 to 52 percent scoring at a Level 4 or 5 while another 20 to 28 scored at a Level 3.
- New Mexico does not list statewide results as a whole. But for grade 3, 24.9 percent scored at a Level 4 or 5; and another 23.6 scored at a Level 3.
- Rhode Island’s results of grades 3 through high school show 31.4 to 38.3 of students scoring at Levels 4 and 5; and another 19.3 to 30.5 scoring at Level 3.
- Washington, D.C.’s results show 25 percent of high school students scored at Level 4 or 5; and 37 percent scored at level 3, 4 or 5.
What does it all mean? If your child took a PARCC test, check the numerical score and ignore the terminology. If the score is 750 or better, relax. If it’s lower, recognize that your child’s education is not up to snuff, according to the new Common Core State Standards. Then decide what you are going to do about it.