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Somerset Learning Center posted on March 17, 2017 11:32

In spring of 2016, PARCC tests were administered for the second time in New Jersey. Here are highlights of how students across the state performed with a comparison of results from the first year of testing in 2015.

**PARCC Background**

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests are based on the Common Core standards and are given to students in grades 3-11. They are administered entirely on the computer and contain many types of technology enhanced questions. The English Language Arts (ELA) component requires students to read several complex texts, answer comprehension and vocabulary questions, and to write essays that draw evidence from the text. Mathematics tasks assess students' mathematical reasoning as well as concepts, skills, and procedures.

PARCC results are reported in five separate categories from Level 1, "not yet meeting expectations" to Level 5, "exceeding expectations". Those who score 4 or 5 are considered to be meeting their grade level expectation for college and career readiness. Those who score 3 are approaching the grade level expectation, and those with 2 or 1 have failed the test. Numerically, the lowest possible PARCC score is 650, and the highest is 850.

**How did NJ students perform in spring 2016?**

The majority of students failed to achieve grade level expectations in 2016. Tables 1 and 2 below show the percent of NJ students that achieved expectations (Level 4 or 5), approached expectations (Level 3), and failed to meet expectations (Level 1 or 2).

Grade | % Meeting or Exceeding Expectations (Level 4 oR 5) |
% Approaching Expectations (Level 3) |
% Failing to Meet Expectations (Level 1 oR 2) |

3 | 48 | 23 | 30 |

4 | 54 | 25 | 22 |

5 | 53 | 25 | 21 |

6 | 52 | 26 | 22 |

7 | 56 | 22 | 22 |

8 | 55 | 22 | 23 |

9 | 49 | 23 | 28 |

10 | 44 | 20 | 25 |

11 | 40 | 23 | 37 |

Table 1 shows:

**Grades 3-8 ELA:**

- Roughly half of the students in grades 3-8 met or exceeded grade level expectations on the English tests. Approximately one fourth of students approached expectations; and another one fourth failed to meet expectations.
- In grades 3-8, 7th grade students performed best on English, with 56% of the students meeting or exceeding expectations.
- 3
^{rd}grade students fared the worst, with only 48% meeting expectations. One explanation is that 3^{rd}grade students take PARCC for the first time and are unfamiliar with the format and still have challenges with typing skills.

**High School ELA:**

- In high school, less than 50% of students met or exceeded expectations.
- Only 40% of 11
^{th}grade students met or exceeded expectations. This is likely because NJ excused high school juniors from taking the exam if they were enrolled in an advanced level English course. - Starting in 2021, there will be a new high school graduation requirement in NJ. Students will need to pass PARCC ELA in grade 10. In 2016 only 44% of students would have met such a threshold for graduation.

Grade or Subject | % Meeting Or Exceeding Expectations (Level 4 OR 5) |
% Approaching Expectations (Level 3) |
% Failing To Meet Expectations (Level 1 OR 2) |

3 | 52 | 24 | 24 |

4 | 47 | 27 | 37 |

5 | 47 | 28 | 25 |

6 | 43 | 29 | 28 |

7 | 39 | 32 | 29 |

8 | 26 | 28 | 47 |

Algebra 1 | 41 | 25 | 34 |

Algebra 2 | 25 | 19 | 56 |

Geometry | 27 | 31 | 42 |

Table 2 shows:

**Grades 3-7 Math**

- In grades 3-7, only 39%-52% of students met or exceeded expectations on the math tests. Roughly 30% of students approached expectations, and 25%-30% failed to meet expectations.
- In grades 3-7, 3rd grade students performed best on the math test, with 52% of the students meeting or exceeding expectations.
- The percent of students earning the passing score declined for each subsequent grade level after 3
^{rd}grade.

**Grade 8 Math**

Only 26% of 8^{th} graders met or exceeded expectations. This is likely because approximately 30,000 8th grade students did not take the 8th grade math test, but took the Algebra 1 test instead.

**
Algebra & Geometry**

- Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry are PARCC online tests taken by students in the grade they take the subject in school. Generally, students did poorly on these tests. 41% of students met or exceeded expectations on Algebra 1, and only 25% and 27% achieved the passing scores on Algebra 2 and Geometry.
- High school math scores remain a concern. In 2021, NJ students will need to meet new high school graduation requirements by passing PARCC Algebra 1. In 2016 only 41% of students would have met this threshold for graduation.

**How do 2016 PARCC results compare to 2015?**

NJ students made slight gains in overall PARCC scores from spring 2015 to spring 2016. The percent of students who met or exceeded expectations on PARCC tests in 2016 went up in every grade level for both ELA and math compared to 2015 (with the exception of Grade 11 ELA). This is illustrated in table 3 below:

Grade or subject | % change in ELA Score (Level 4 OR 5) |
% Change in Math score (Level 4 OR 5) |

3 | 4.1 | 6.8 |

4 | 2.4 | 5.9 |

5 | 1.7 | 6.2 |

6 | 3.5 | 2.2 |

7 | 4.7 | 1.9 |

8 | 3.6 | 2.1 |

9 | 9.2 | |

10 | 7.7 | |

11 | -0.9 | |

Algebra 1 | 5.2 | |

Algebra 2 | 1.1 | |

Geometry | 4.6 |

It is also worth noting that more students participated in the NJ PARCC exams in 2016 over the previous year, following a major opt-out movement in 2015. An additional 56,000 students took the math exam in 2016 for a total of about 811,000 students. And 60,000 more students took ELA test in 2016 for a total of 826,000 students.

**Spring 2017 Testing**

This spring, NJ students will take the following tests:

- PARCC (grades 3-11).............................. March 27 - May 19
- NJ ASK Science (grades 4 & 8)................. May 31, 2017,
- NJ Biology Competency Test .....................May 31 – June 1, 2017.

Questions about your child?

If you are concerned about your students' PARCC scores or want to give them a boost for the upcoming tests, please contact the Somerset Learning Center. We specialize in preparing students for these exams and will help your child improve skills to obtain the best possible score! Lana Marshak, the Somerset Learning Center Director, along with our certified teachers, have been helping students improve their grades and standardized test scores for 30 years!

Learn more about the PARCC tests and our approach.

*Percentages in tables may not add to 100 due to rounding

Posted in: PARCC News