The disparity in achievement between New Jersey’s rich and poor students, and between children of different races, continues to occur in the state’s schools, according to results of the new PARCC assessment tests given in the spring.
Information released to the State Board of Education last week showed the so-called “achievement gap” by race and income. Results varied by grade level, but showed wide disparity. For example, while only 30 percent of economically-disadvantaged fifth graders met or exceeded grade-level expectations in language arts, 65 percent of their more well-off peers did so.
And in math, while 59 percent of more well-off third graders met or exceeded the grade-level mark on the tests, only 25 percent of economically-disadvantaged third-graders did the same.
Broken down by race, the numbers also show a clear gap. While 80 percent of Asian students and 61 percent of white students met expectations for language arts in seventh grade, for example, only 30 percent of African-American students, and 35 percent of Hispanic students, did so.
State education officials have long wrestled with the achievement gap in New Jersey, and the presentation given to the State Board indicates that it continues. The first results of the statewide PARCC tests were released last month, with further analysis available last week. School-by-school results are expected to be provided to districts within the next few weeks.
The state board last week also adopted the PARCC scoring and the five categories for achievement, ranging from “not meeting expectations” to “exceeding expectations,” and heard a presentation on which PARCC scores would be used as a high school graduation requirement.
While the Christie administration has promised not to set a PARCC score as a graduation requirement until the class of 2020, officials discussed setting temporary benchmarks for grade levels and subjects.