Schools have only been in session for about a month, but there are some local teachers, students and administrators who should feel pretty good about their work in 2018.
The Deptford Township School District recently got the results back from last spring’s PARCC exams (the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) and the results presented at the Sept. 25 board of education meeting were definitely encouraging.
Performance in both English/language arts and math has improved in the last four years. English scores in the district grew 5 percent in the two highest ratings (“meets expectations” and “exceeds expectations,” the two ratings that translate as an indication the student is on pace to be college or career ready) to 47 percent proficient over the last four years, while math increased 3 percent in the same two categories, to 37 overall proficient over the last four years.
Another highlight from the data: eighth-grade Algebra I, in meets or exceeds expectations, stands at 97 percent.
There is growth (a larger percentage of students falling into the two highest categories, compared to test results in the last four years) across the board.
“It’s phenomenal,” Superintendent Arthur Dietz said after the results were made public. “Especially in a district where it’s not one-to-one initiative. We have to rate how we give the PARCC, it’s not a nice, smooth process simply because we don’t have a computer for everybody. So (chief academic officer) Kevin (Knauss), the staff and teachers, they’ve all done, I think, miraculous work with what we’ve been given. I think it’s something to be extremely proud of.”
Some of the middle school-age students fared particularly well, especially when looking at statewide PARCC score results.
Within the English/language arts scores, 85.2 percent of seventh graders and 89.9 percent of eighth-grade students in Deptford fell into the latter three categories: approaching expectations, meeting expectations, or exceeding expectations. Both of these numbers were above the percentage of New Jersey students as a whole that fell into those same categories (81.2 percent for seventh and 80.1 percent for eighth grade).
In math, nearly half of all seventh-grade Deptford students fell into the final two of the five categories (47.0 percent are meeting or exceeding expectations). In Deptford, 12.7 percent of seventh graders are “exceeding expectations” in the math results, which compares favorable to seventh graders in New Jersey as a whole (7.4 exceeding expectations).
“Definitely credit the teachers and the students for making a commitment to the curriculum,” said Knauss, who presented the data at the board meeting. “For taking it seriously, for focusing on all of the important aspects of the curriculum, looking at all of the practice tests, some of the practice PARCC problems and really devoting their time and attention to it. We have awesome instructional advisers too that were assisting the students and teachers for the PARCC exams, too.”
Within individual schools in the district, Oak Valley Elementary School saw a 26 percent growth in fourth-grade math, a 23 percent growth in fourth-grade English/language arts, and a 20 percent growth in fifth-grade math. Lake Tract School saw a 20th percent growth in sixth-grade English/language arts and Good Intent Elementary School saw a 24 percent growth in third-grade math.
The district also saw five students register perfect PARCC scores: two in seventh-grade English/language arts, one in eighth-grade English/language arts, one in 10th-grade English/language arts, and one in sixth-grade math.