Mt. Laurel Schools Board of Education reviews 2016–2017 school year PARCC results

Students, on average, scored equal to or above their peers in New Jersey meeting or exceeding expectations last school year.

Students throughout Mt. Laurel schools once again, on average, scored equal to or above their peers in New Jersey who were meeting or exceeding expectations on last school year’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test.

The Mt. Laurel Board of Education reviewed results of the annual standardized test at this week’s meeting, which showed how the district’s students in grades three through eight compared to their peers in and out of New Jersey on the computerized English language arts and mathematics exams.

Sharon Vitella, district assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment for the district, said the scores placed students on a scale of one through five, with students who scored a four or five considered meeting or exceeding expectations respectively.

According to Vitella, the percentage of students in Mt. Laurel’s schools in grades three through eight who took the PARCC exams and scored a four of five was, on average, greater than the percentage of students who did so on the state level and in other states that gave the exam.

The only schools and grade levels in Mt. Laurel Schools where the percentage of students who scored above a four or five in English Language Arts or mathematics was not above the state level are as follows:

· Larchmont Elementary: third-grade English Language Arts (48 percent versus the state’s 50 percent) and third-grade math (40 percent versus the state’s 53 percent)

· Fleetwood Elementary: third-grade math (50 percent versus the state’s 53 percent) and fourth-grade English Language Arts (45 percent versus the state’s 56 percent)

· Parkway Elementary: third-grade math (51 percent versus the state’s 53 percent)

· Harrington Middle School eighth-grade math (19 percent versus the state’s 28 percent)

However, as Vitella noted, the PARCC scores for eighth-grade math students can be considered “complicated,” as the school’s best-performing students who are in regular algebra I or geometry classes throughout the year will also take algebra I and geometry PARCC exams respectively.

When looking at the math scores for the district’s eighth-grade students in algebra I or geometry, the percentage of students scoring a four or five far exceeds the state average, with 90 percent to the state’s 41 percent for algebra I and 97 percent to the state’s 30 percent for geometry.

For the eighth-grade math scores of students not in algebra I or geometry, Vitella said while scores have been “disappointing” during the past several years, she did note this year’s scores are up 5 percentage points from last year’s scores.

She also said a new math curriculum is being implemented this year.

“We are hopeful that this score will continue to go up and we will see some improvements, because while we are very proud that 27 percent of our (Harrington) students are taking high school math, that still leaves three-quarters of the school,” Vitella said. “We obviously are very concerned about their performance as well.”

Several board members also discussed the possibility of doing more to help the district’s eighth-grade math students outside of algebra I and geometry.

Members of the public can review the full testing report at www.mtlaurelschools.org under the agenda for the board’s Oct. 17 meeting.