Heading Up: DC “College Ready” Test Scores

As students head back to school next week, DC public schools, both traditional and charter, have gotten some good news.

DC’s students have seen steady improvements for the fourth straight year in the “career-readiness” PARCC test that gauges real-world problem solving and critical thinking. It grades on a 5 point scale, with a 4 or 5 indicating the student is on track to go to college. The test is administered annually in grades 3 through 8 and then once again in high school. On average, English scores are up 12.3 percentage points since four years ago and up 8.4 percentage points in math. Scores are up in nearly all grades and subjects—and also in all wards and for all demographic groups, including special needs students. Improvements have been greatest for Hispanic students and also in DCPS middle schools.

To be sure, there is a lot more work to be done, as Mayor Bowser acknowledges. Even with these gains, white students are three to four times more likely to have “college-ready” test scores than African American students. And only about 30 to 40 percent of DC students score high enough to be on track for college. But we can still mark the 2019 PARCC scores down as real progress.

There are 13 public schools, roughly half traditional and half charter, that have seen remarkable progress in student achievement. They have been recognized this year by the nonprofit EmpowerK12 as “Bold Improvement Schools.” A large share of their enrollment consists of at-risk students, and they are closing the achievement gap at rates that are well above average nationally. These schools are:

  • Barnard Elementary (DCPS / Ward 4)
  • Center City – Congress Heights (Charter / Ward 8)
  • Columbia Heights Education Campus (DCPS / Ward 1)
  • H.D. Cooke Elementary (DCPS / Ward 1)
  • J.O. Wilson Elementary (DCPS / Ward 6)
  • KIPP DC – Heights Academy (Charter / Ward 8)
  • KIPP DC – Promise Academy (Charter / Ward 7)
  • KIPP DC – Valor Academy (Charter / Ward 7)
  • Langdon Elementary School (DCPS / Ward 5)
  • Perry Street Prep (Charter / Ward 5)
  • Tubman Elementary (DCPS / Ward 1)
  • Walker-Jones Education Campus (DCPS / Ward 6)
  • Washington Leadership Academy (Charter / Ward 5)

The FC2’s next Board meeting on September 24th at Audi Field will focus on DC’s education landscape and will feature many of DC’s education leadership—including the Chancellor of DC Public Schools Lewis Ferebee, the President of UDC Ronald Mason, the Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn, and the head of the Charter School Board Scott Pearson. You can RSVP below.