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PARCA: Standardized test scores show improvements

While test scores are improving, the study highlights that there is still “a long way to go.”

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Students in Alabama public school system continue to show improvements in math, science, and English Language proficiency across all grade levels and virtually all demographic groups, according to a recent study from the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama that analyzed standardized test scores statewide.

In a school year not marked with significant disruptions to schooling due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021-2022 school year “marked a return to closer-to-normal conditions” for public schools in the state, according to the study, with the improvements across “all subjects and all grades” within almost every school system in Alabama.

The Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program is now entering its second year as the standardized test taken by Alabama public school students, with the most current testing results showing a slight increase in English proficiency and more pronounced increases in Math and Science ACAP test scores compared with the previous year, according to the study.

The statewide scores show a six-point increase in math proficiency, from 21.8 percent in 2021 to 27. 8 percent in 2022, and a 3.3 percent increase in Science proficiency, from 36.5 percent in 2021 to 39.8 percent in 2022, according to the study.

The study also shows that English proficiency increased a marginal 1.8 percent, from 47.8 percent in 2021 to 49.6 percent in 2022.

While test scores are improving, the study highlights that there is still “a long way to go.”

“Only half of students across the tested grades (3-8) scored proficient in English Language Arts (ELA),” the study reads. “In math, only 28 percent of students were proficient. Students were tested in science in grades 4 and 8, and 40 percent of students were found to be proficient. A sub-set of the ELA questions is used to measure whether second and third-graders are ‘reading on grade level,’ a different measure than proficiency. Those results, released by the state department this summer, showed that 22 percent of third-grade students were below grade level in reading.”

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John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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