July 08, 2011

2011 DC CAS Results Show Continued Progress for DCPS Secondary Students 

Students in grades 7 and 8 show strong gains; elementary scores remain steady over 2010

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Preliminary results of the 2011 District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) show solid growth in secondary math and strong improvements in grades 7 and 8.  Scores for students at the elementary level remain constant from last year, according to test results released today for District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).    

The results show continued progress throughout the district since 2007, when DC public schools were placed under the control of the Executive Office of the Mayor.

  • Secondary math and reading scores have risen steadily since 2007.
  • Every grade is performing at higher levels in math since 2007.  Grades 7 and 8 went from the lowest performing grades in math to the highest performing grades.
  • When compared to 2007, elementary scores show steady growth, with reading scores rising from 37.5 percent proficient in 2007 to 43.0 percent in 2011, and math scores rising from 29.3 percent proficient in 2007 to 42.3 percent in 2011.

Over the course of the summer, DCPS will analyze the results, identify areas for improved growth, and target areas in need of improvement, with a focus this year on rolling out a new rigorous curriculum and enhanced professional development for teachers.

“The 2011 DC CAS results show continued progress throughout the school system since 2007 and advances in some categories over 2010,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray said. “I am confident that Chancellor Henderson will use these results to focus on areas in need of improvement and ensure that DCPS students in every ward and at every grade level achieve at high levels.”   

DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson, in reviewing the results, highlighted the solid gains made by DCPS middle school students across the district since 2007, and singled out grades 7 and 8 for dramatic improvements. Grades 7 and 8 were the top-performing grades in math this year, with 49 percent of seventh graders and 51 percent of eighth graders scoring proficient (an increase of 4 and 8 percentage points, respectively, over 2010).

“In 2007, our seventh- and eighth-grade students were the lowest-performing in the district. Today, seventh and eighth graders have shown they can move us forward by making steady progress in reading and climbing to the top in math proficiency,” Chancellor Henderson said. “We will work hard as a school district in the next school year to build on the progress we have made. We have a long way to go in reaching our goals, but our seventh and eighth graders have proven we can make steady progress.”

The DC CAS math and reading tests are administered each year in grades 3-8 and 10. The test determines student proficiency rates in reading and math and whether schools have met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

2011 DC CAS Preliminary Reading and Math Proficiency Rates Compared to 2010

In comparing preliminary results of the 2011 DC CAS to 2010 scores, secondary math scores increased significantly, secondary reading and elementary scores remained relatively constant.   

  • 46.4% of secondary students score proficient in math, up 2.7 percentage points from 2010.
  • 44.2% of secondary students scored proficient in reading, up 1 percentage point from 2010
  • 43.0% of elementary students scored proficient in reading, down 1.1 percentage points from 2010
  • 42.3% of elementary students scored proficient in math, down 0.8 percentage points from 2010

Progress Since 2007 DC CAS Results:

In comparing preliminary results of the 2011 DC CAS to 2007, secondary scores have shown the strongest gains and elementary scores have shown solid improvement.


Continued Gains at Secondary Level

  • Secondary students have made strong gains since 2007, with reading proficiency increasing from 29.8 percent in 2007 to 44.2 percent in 2011, and math proficiency rates nearly doubling from 27.1 percent in 2007 to 46.4 in 2011.
  • The percent of seventh- and eighth-grade students scoring below basic in math has been cut in half since 2007.

Elementary Scores Show Steady Growth

  • When compared to 2007, elementary scores show steady growth, with reading scores rising from 37.5 percent proficient in 2007 to 43.0 percent in 2011, and math scores rising from 29.3 percent proficient in 2007 to 42.3 percent in 2011.

More Work to Be Done

While progress has been steady in recent years, it is not adequate to ensure that our students are prepared for college and careers in a global market. “We plan to continue our efforts in building a school district on a foundation of Great Schools, Great People and Great Connections,” said Chancellor Henderson, noting strong progress since 2007 in completing facilities modernizations, attracting and retaining outstanding teachers, and building support among DCPS stakeholders. “However, DCPS must continue to make radical changes if our students are expected to be competitive with their peers on the national and international stages.”  

To that end, we can expect to see increased rigor and resources when students and teachers return to our classrooms next month.


  • DCPS will begin to transition to the Common Core State Standards, a new set of more rigorous standards that will have a major impact on the quality of education we provide our students. The Common Core State Standards lay out what students should know and be able to do in kindergarten through 12th grade. The standards also will allow DCPS to compare our students’ achievements to those of students around the country.
  • DCPS will provide aligned curricular resources from preschool through high school classrooms. Under the umbrella of the Common Core Standards, DCPS is launching a renewed focus on providing a rich, engaging curriculum, with a focus next year on engaging all students in the careful and close reading of high-quality fiction and informational text
  • DCPS will offer more high-quality professional development options to ensure teachers have the support they need for students to achieve at high levels DCPS will provide teachers with tools and guidance to help provide a more consistent educational experience across the district. DCPS educators will receive targeted coaching and support in the classroom from instructional coaches, so that teachers learn by doing.  DCPS also will rollout an online professional development video library of more than 120 video clips that show our educators what highly effective teaching looks like. The clips feature 35 DCPS educators rated highly effective on their IMPACT evaluations as they teach lessons that cover all nine standards from the Teaching and Learning Framework.

Next Steps

Schools will have until July 22 to review their data for accuracy and report any concerns to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) through an appeals process. Final school level results will be made available in early August on the OSSE website.

Inside DCPS Highlights.


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