Grade Level Achievement
BALTIMORE'S PROMISE HAS A GOAL THAT
Children and Youth Achieve at Grade Level or Above in School
Research shows academic success is linked to increased high school graduation rates, college graduation, and adult outcomes such as income and employment. Reading achievement predicts the likelihood of graduating from high school and attending college, as well as career success. Students who cannot read at grade level by 3rd grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school on time than children who can. Likewise, mathematics competence is related to higher rates of high school graduation, higher levels of employability, and higher earnings in adulthood.
Middle school performance is a critical mile marker toward completion of high school, with one study finding 8th grade achievement to have a greater impact on college and career readiness than any achievement gains made during high school.
Stakeholders expressed support for a quality, citywide focus on grade level achievement, especially for students beyond 3rd grade. With strategies led by Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS), as well as other initiatives such as the Baltimore School Climate Network and the Grade Level Reading Campaign, there is momentum in this area to build upon. Baltimore’s Promise has identified standardized test scores as a key indicator of grade level achievement.
Percent of students meeting or exceeding readiness on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
2016 PARCC data says that 19.2% of students in Grade 3 and 6.3% in Grade 8 met or exceeded readiness standards for Math.
For English Language Arts/Literacy, 12.7% of 3rd graders and 14.7% of 8th graders met or exceeded these standards.
Percent of students reaching advanced or proficient levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
11.0% of 4th graders and 13.0% of 8th graders were proficient or advanced in Reading.
For the Math assessment, 12.0% of 4th graders and 12.0% of 8th graders tested as proficient or advanced.
NAEP: Math and Reading Proficiencies
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is administered to students by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Maryland State Department of Education. The purpose is to assess students’ knowledge and skills for subjects on a scale of Basic (partial mastery), Proficient (solid performance), and Advanced (superior performance). At the state level, Math and Reading assessments are given to 4th and 8th graders every odd year, with the most recent assessment year being 2015.
NAEP data from 2015 revealed that Baltimore City 4th and 8th graders underperformed compared to their statewide cohorts.
Percent of Students Scoring Proficient or Above on the NAEP, 2015
(Baltimore City & Maryland)
Females and males performed similarly on NAEP assessments, but there were significant disparities in performance between black and white students.
NAEP: Grade 4 Math - Proficient or Above by Gender and Race/Ethnicity
NAEP: Grade 8 Math - Proficient or Above by Gender and Race/Ethnicity
NAEP: Grade 4 Reading - Proficient or Above by Gender and Race/Ethnicity
NAEP: Grade 8 Reading - Proficient or Above by Gender and Race/Ethnicity
Grade Level PARCC: Math and English Language Arts Proficiencies
During the 2015-2016 school year, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments were administered to five million students in 11 states, including Maryland. The purpose of PARCC assessments is not only to assess student performance but also to help educators identify where their students need more guidance.
Data on PARCC assessment results showed that students in Baltimore City met or exceeded expectations for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math less frequently than students across Maryland. The achievement gaps between state and city were severe across both dimensions, but the decline of Math performance by grade in Baltimore City was particularly alarming.
PARCC: Students Who Met or Exceeded English Expectations, 2015-2016
PARCC: Students Who Met or Exceeded Math Expectations, 2015-2016
Statewide data also revealed the performance of more demographic subgroups than the data for the NAEP. In 2015, Asians and whites met or exceeded PARCC expectations more often that other subgroups, while Hispanics and blacks met or exceeded expectations less often.
PARCC: Maryland Students Who Met or Exceeded English Expectations by Gender and Race/Ethnicity, 2015-2016
PARCC: Maryland Students Who Met or Exceeded Math Expectations by Gender and Race/Ethnicity, 2015-2016