July 13, 2009

Fenty, Rhee and Reinoso Announce DCPS 2009 DC CAS Scores 

District of Columbia Public Schools Continue to Make Steady Gains

Contact: Jennifer Calloway | 202.701.9364 | Contact Email

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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Chancellor Michelle Rhee and Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso announced preliminary results of the 2009 District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC CAS) tests. The annual assessment 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 (NCLB) act.

“Two years in, we are diligently continuing to lay the foundation for sustainable school reform,” said Mayor Fenty. “While the increases in DC CAS scores are just one indication, it is powerful evidence of the incredible work being done by teachers, principals and most importantly our students --across the District.”

Preliminary Reading and Math Proficiency Rates

On the 2009 DC CAS, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) made steady gains at the elementary and secondary levels in both reading and math.

  • 49% of elementary students are proficient in reading, up from 46% last year.
  • 49% of elementary students are proficient in math, up from 40% last year.
  • 41% of secondary students are proficient in reading, up from 39% last year.
  • 40% of secondary students are proficient in math, up from 36% last year.

Growth in Student Proficiency
Prior to 2007, less than a third of elementary students were performing math at grade-level; after two years close to half of our elementary students are proficient in math and reading. Secondary students have achieved double-digit growth demonstrating tremendous progress.


DCPS Student Proficiency Levels bar graph elementary and secondary 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009

Narrowing the Achievement Gap
The achievement gap between African-American and White students continues to close across all grade levels and subject areas, with the gap between secondary math students closing an astonishing 20 points from 70 percent to 50 percent after only two years. Elementary students have also showed significant progress after two years, with the achievement gap narrowing by 8 points in math and 6 points in reading. 

“Narrowing the achievement gap continues to be a top priority, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure that every child in the District, regardless of their background and circumstances has the opportunity to realize their potential,” said DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee. “We are proud of our students and encouraged by their continued growth; once again DCPS educators made the difference, and we are extremely grateful for their tireless work.”

Growth of Subgroups
Virtually every subgroup increased proficiency rates this year, indicating that all students are making progress; Special Education (SPED), English Language Learners (ELL), and Economically Disadvantaged students made the most dramatic gains. In two years elementary and secondary SPED students have increased their reading proficiency 11 points each. In math, elementary students increased 14 points and secondary students 9 points.

DCPS Special Education Student Proficiency bar graph elementary and secondary  2007, 2008, and 2009

ELL students built on their 2008 gains with over half of all elementary students at grade-level in reading and math. Secondary ELL students also made impressive gains increasing proficiency from last year.

DCPS English Language Learner Student Proficiency bar graph elementary and secondary  2007, 2008, and 2009

Lastly, Economically Disadvantaged students continue to make strides reaching double-digit growth over two years. Elementary students have increased math proficiency rates by 17 points and reading by 10 points, with one-third of secondary students now at grade-level in math and reading.

DCPS Economically Disadvantaged Student Proficiency bar graph elementary and secondary 2007, 2008, and 2009

Adequate Yearly Progress
For the 2008/2009 school year 34 DC public schools reached AYP. Twenty-eight elementary schools and 6 secondary schools met the federal requirements for NCLB.

Focus on Instruction
Focusing on instruction had a significant impact on this year’s DC CAS results. Principals and teachers made the difference by maximizing valuable classroom time, through differentiated and engaging instruction.

For school administrators, DCPS launched the Principal’s Academy, a monthly professional development session created to support instructional leaders. Principals received extensive training on various elements of an effective school including: what quality teaching and learning looks like, leadership, family and community engagement, and creating an optimal learning environment. School leaders were able to meet regularly, share best practices and learn from each other.

Teachers continue to work diligently to boost the achievement of their students. In an effort to provide teachers with professional development and support, this year schools used the Comprehensive Staffing Model to budget for a total of 144 full-time professional developers in 85 percent of schools. The professional developers provided school-level support for teachers and other instructional staff enabling them to better serve kids.

Individual Results
The Fenty Administration selected Drew Elementary school in Ward 7 as the site for this year’s announcement to recognize the students, the principal and teachers for their hard work, which produced remarkable gains in reading and math. Drew doubled its reading proficiency and quintupled its math proficiency.

Ninety-eight percent of students at Drew are African-American; they had an 18-point increase in reading and a 28 percent increase in math, bringing their proficiency rates up to 31 percent and 34 percent respectively.

Today principals will receive access to preliminary scores and will have 10 days for final review; after which individual school results will be available to the public.

For more information as it becomes available, please visit http://nclb.osse.dc.gov/.

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