Interactive Map: Passing PARCC Remains Challenge for High-Schoolers

Colleen O'Dea | November 4, 2016 | Map of the Week, Maps
While results released this week show improvement overall, most of the state’s high-school students failed to attain passing grades

Fewer than 10 percent of 11th graders in New Jersey’s high schools passed the language arts section of the PARCC test last year, according to the results released on Wednesday by state education officials.

Overall, the results from the second official year of the tests were better for many schools and the state as a whole, but most high school students still did not achieving passing scores.

PARCC is composed of tests of math and language arts, given to students in grades 3-11. The language arts tests correspond to a student’s grade level, while the higher-level math tests are not necessarily given at grade levels. For instance, students may begin taking Algebra and Geometry in middle school and, if so, would take the appropriate test at that time.

The tests are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with those scoring 4 or 5 considered passing.

When the state Department of Education ended the use of the High School Proficiency Assessment as a graduation requirement, it mandated students pass PARCC or other tests in math and language arts. Eventually, the PARCC tests will be graduation requirements.

Under the old testing system, many schools — particularly those in wealthy districts and the small “academies” within the county vocational districts — were used to getting high marks.

This time around, only 27 of 408 schools had passing rates of at least 75 percent among 11th graders taking the PARCC language arts last spring. In 18 other districts, fewer than 10 percent of high school juniors passed.

State officials also released scores by gender and race and ethnicity. There are clear differences in some of the groups. On the 11th grade language arts test, girls outperformed boys — 48 percent passing versus 33 percent. Asians had the highest passing rate (58 percent) and African-Americans had the lowest (31 percent).

The map shows the passing percentage by school on the 11th grade language arts test. Hovering over or clicking on a school will reveal detailed breakdowns by sex and race/ethnicity, as well as scores on the Algebra II test, when available. The DOE suppresses data when it believes an individual’s identity could be compromised so there are many instances in which detailed data is not available.