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A Look at DCPS' Performance After Dave Chappelle's Emmys Joke

Students are making significant gains on standardized tests but still falling short of national averages, data shows

As comedian Dave Chappelle prepared to present an award at the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, he mentioned his education.

"Now, I'm going to read this teleprompter. Please forgive me. Shoutout to D.C. public schools," the 1991 graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts said, getting laughter and applause.

D.C. Public Schools representatives and Mayor Muriel Bowser were apparently delighted by the mention, which soon -- with help from comedian John Oliver -- had #DCPublicSchools trending on Twitter.

But how are D.C. public schools doing?

The latest data shows that students are making significant gains on standardized tests but still falling short of national averages.

Only 31.9 percent of DCPS students met or exceeded expectations in 2017 in the English and Language Arts section of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, test. On the math section, 27.4 percent of students met this standard, DCPS data shows.

DCPS
DC Public Schools' 2017 scores on the PARCC college-and-career-readiness test. Level 4 is meeting expectations. Level 5 is exceeding expectations.

The average scores for students in the seven states plus D.C. where the exam is administered are 40.3 for the English section and 30.1 percent for math.

On the plus side, DCPS students made record gains on the test from 2016 to 2017, marking at 6.4 percent boost in English and 3.5 percent boost in math, DCPS said.

“This improvement is a clear sign of student learning, our commitment to our young people and our investment in the programs and curriculum that support the work," Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson said in a statement released last month. "We’re committed to continuing to work hard to ensure our schools serve every student in every part of the city well."

The achievement gap among students of different races is significant and has grown, according to two DCPS charts that show what percentage of students met or exceeded expectations on the PARCC test.

DCPS
D.C. has a significant racial achievement gap among students' scores in English and Language Arts on the PARCC test. Black students were far less likely to meet or exceed expectations on this portion of the exam than were white students.
DCPS
D.C. has a significant racial achievement gap among students' scores in math on the PARCC test. Black students were far less likely to meet or exceed expectations on this portion of the exam than were white students.

Go here to see larger versions of these charts.

DC Public Schools' graduation rate also is below the national average but climbing. In 2016, 69 percent of students completed high school, DCPS says.

The national average is 83 percent, according to National Center for Education Statistics data for 2015

Students and faculty members at Duke Ellington School of the Arts said they're thrilled that 1991 graduate Dave Chappelle mentioned D.C. Public Schools at the Primetime Emmys on Sunday. News4's Kristin Wright reports.
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