D.C. set ambitious goals.
D.C.’s proficiency goal is for all students and each student subgroup to demonstrate college and career readiness on its statewide assessments by 2038. While this is a long timeline, it seems reasonable given D.C.’s low proficiency rates.
To increase transparency, D.C. should explain to parents with students currently in the system what they should expect in terms of growth and performance outcomes. D.C. set an interim goal of cutting the gap between each group’s current proficiency rate and 85 percent in half within 10 years.
D.C.’s graduation rate goal would fully close gaps between students. By 2038, the four-year adjusted-cohort graduation rate must be 90 percent of all students and each student subgroup. There is some concern over whether this goal is sufficiently ambitious since it requires an annual growth of only 1-2 percent. D.C. could strengthen its plan by demonstrating that there is a strong connection between graduation and college and career readiness.
D.C. will set ambitious yet realistic growth targets for English-learner students to reach English proficiency.
D.C. should be credited for setting provisional baselines for English-language proficiency growth using current data — with a promise to recalculate as it gathers new data from the new ACCESS 2.0 assessment. The system makes adjustments for year and age at entry, and ultimately students are expected to score a 5 on the ACCESS exam by their fifth year of schooling in D.C. While it’s not ideal to build English-language proficiency goals based on an old test, D.C. should be credited for making accountability for English-language proficiency a priority during this period.