Sixty percent of Arkansas students taking the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam scored satisfactorily while similar scores were recorded in geometry and ninth and 10th grade English. This is the only year students will take the PARCC exam, which is aligned with the Common Core State Standards.
The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) released the scores Thursday (Oct. 8). Students could score at one of five levels, with scores of 3 considered on track for college and career readiness and students with lower scores considered in need of intervention. The state Board of Education approved the five score ranges.
In Algebra I, 28% of student test-takers scored a 4 or 5. In geometry, 57% scored at least a 3 while 21% scored at least a 4. In ninth grade English language arts, 64% scored at least a 3 while 36% scored at least a 4. In 10th grade English language arts, 60% scored at least a 3, while 37% scored at least a 4.
Assessments in 11th grade English language arts and Algebra II were optional. According to ADE, 69% of Arkansas students taking the 11th grade English exam and 39% of Algebra II test-takers scored at least a 3.
The PARCC exam is designed to measure student performance across state lines under the Common Core standards, which were created by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and adopted in Arkansas in 2010. This was the first and only year Arkansas students participated in the year-end exam. Earlier this year, the State Board of Education bowed to pressure from Gov. Asa Hutchinson and legislators to remove Arkansas from the PARCC consortium. Next year, students will take the ACT Aspire exam.
Previously, Arkansas students participated in the Arkansas Benchmark Exam, which compared students against state standards but not other states.
During its planning stages, the PARCC consortium was composed of 24 states plus the District of Columbia, while the rest of the nation’s Common Core states were involved in the Smarter Balanced consortium.
But PARCC’s numbers dwindled before the first statewide tests were administered this year. Arkansas was one of 10 states and the District of Columbia participating in the exam in 2015, and it along with Mississippi and Ohio no longer plan to administer the test. Louisiana’s test next year will be composed only of a minority of PARCC questions.
Critics complained about the amount of time students spent taking the test and distrusted the exam because of privacy concerns and because of PARCC’s close ties to the Common Core, which some consider an example of federal overreach.
Individual district and student scores for grades 9-12 will be released in November. Scores for grades 3-8 are scheduled to be announced at the November State Board of Education meeting.