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.
GRADE LEVEL ACHIEVEMENT WORK GROUP
This work group focuses on children in Kindergarten through 8th grade. As part of its initial charge, the Grade Level Achievement work group sought to identify and examine strategies to improve student achievement, including those targeting students at the greatest risk of failure and dropout, using an early warning process. This includes identifying: the exact rate of attendance or poor grades that indicate a student is at risk of dropping off track; key drivers impacting student achievement; opportunities for intervention, including out-of-school strategies; and strategies for sharing information with parents/families, service providers, teachers, and principals.
The Grade Level Achievement work group put forth the below set of initial, strategic recommendations to move the needle on our key indicators for this outcome. The group monitored the following progress to date:
Create and leverage effective partnerships between schools and external entities: including community-based organizations and institutions (e.g. Baltimore Behavioral Health Systems and the Baltimore City Department of Social Services).
Progress to Date: The Effective Partnerships action team examined promising practices associated with school-based partnerships and generated ideas for developing a system that supports effective partnerships across the district. As a result of this work, the action team has:
- led the overhaul of the Partnerships Toolkit on the BCPS website, which is a resource for external partners and school leaders.
- supported the BCPS Office of Community Engagement in refining its trainings for principals in the 2016–17 school year.
Collaborate with the Baltimore City Public Schools' central office to identify opportunities to support long-term capacity building strategies that improve human capital.
Progress to Date: The Human Capital action team discussed the strengths and opportunities of strategies related to the recruitment, retention, and professional development of BCPS principals. The team drafted an action plan to launch an Advisory Board for the Of ce of Human Capital, as well as a plan to build a differentiated professional development strategy for principals based on tenure and identi ed needs. The re nement and implementation of these plans is ongoing based on recommendations from the new Acting Chief of the Of ce of Human Capital.
Explore opportunities to align and expand quality, individualized interventions to improve achievement. This includes enhancing and expanding: school-based academic interventions in both math and literacy, such as tutoring; health and behavioral health interventions; and quality out-of-school time (OST) programs, including both after school and summer.
Progress to Date:
- The Baltimore City Health Department produced a comprehensive Youth Health and Wellness strategy with input from a number of stakeholders, including Baltimore’s Promise. Efforts are underway to implement the strategy.
- The Quality, Individualized Interventions — The OST action team examined the distribution and accessibility of OST seats, and the current alignment of OST programs with the district’s instructional priorities. The action team also examined the quality improvement systems of various programs and their outcomes. With support from the Family League of Baltimore, the action team drafted a strategic vision for OST and youth development programming in Baltimore City.
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