Low Student Test Scores Raise Questions About Access to Technology

With the release of district-level test scores on the PARCC exam, some state school board members show concern over lack of improvement.

As reported in the Baltimore Sun, across Maryland school systems, math scores climbed slightly in the second year of the PARCC test, but language arts scores were essentially flat, statewide results previously released showed.

As reported,

Some state school board members said they’re concerned that there was so little improvement compared to the year before, when the test was given for the first time.

“We are seeing no movement from the baseline. Frankly, some of us were expecting some gains,” said Andy Smarick, the board president.

The PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) was first introduced in Maryland last year, so this is the second year of test scores. The new test is aligned with the common core curriculum.

MACo has followed implementation of the PARCC exam in consideration of new technology costs attributable to online administration of the test. Maryland counties provide funding for school technology costs. Now, one schools superintendent questions whether increased exposure to technology outside of the testing environment will be key to better performance on the test.

From the Sun,

Every student took the exam online last year, school officials said, which could have contributed to dips in performance especially among third-, sixth- and 10th-graders who took the exam on paper the year before.

School officials said they are joining other districts in examining what affect the mode of test-taking had on results.

“It does raise the question about our young people’s access to technology,” [Baltimore schools CEO Sonja] Santelises said.

For more information, see State releases district-level PARCC scores for Maryland students from the Baltimore Sun.