The Maryland State Board of Education has proposed a plan to raise the bar for test scores required for high school graduation in the coming years.
The board has proposed a phased-in approach to setting the assessment scores needed for a high school diploma. Under the new regulations, students taking the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams in English 10 and Algebra I next year would need a score of 725 in each of those subjects — or a combined score in those two subjects of 1450.
The scores necessary to meet the graduation requirement in those two subjects would rise slightly each year through the 2019-2020 school year:
- 733 in 2017-18 (combined score of 1466)
- 741 in 2018-19 (combined score of 1482)
- 750 in 2019-20 (combined score of 1500)
For any student who must take a re-test of the assessments in English 10 and/or Algebra I, the passing score on the re-test for that student will be the passing score in the year that the student first took the assessment, according to a press release from the State Department of Education.
Students who are unable to meet the graduation requirement through examination will continue to have the opportunity to meet it through the Bridge Plan for Academic Validation, Maryland’s long-standing project-based assessment. In addition, if a student has not achieved a passing score on the English 10 and Algebra I tests, students may meet the requirement by achieving certain scores on the appropriate SAT, ACT and IB tests, or on the PARCC Algebra II or English 11 assessments.
The State Board’s new plan will be published as proposed regulations in the Maryland Register in the coming weeks, and will go through a 30-day comment period. The regulations will come back to the State Board for final action this summer.
While this is the second year the PARCC exams in mathematics and English are being administered, students taking Algebra I and English 10 this school year need only to take the exams as part of their graduation requirement. Passing the courses, as well as the High School Assessments in biology and government, also are a graduation requirement for those students.
Maryland instituted the High School Assessment requirement beginning with the class of 2009, following several years of study. Scores on the assessments rose dramatically after the State Board made passing the assessments a requirement for graduation.