Are Academics Taking a Second Seat to SEL and DEI? The Results Show We’re Failing Miserably, and the Plan FCPS Is Developing To Fix It Will Take at Least Eight Years


Is an “A” the same for every student in FCPS? Not always.

There is no standardized scoring for academics within FCPS. This is a large gap and can lead to substantial inconsistencies in reporting and doesn’t seem like a hard problem to solve, but it illustrates that we have a long way to go with academic proficiency.

Read the summary below that reports on the latest academic results

and the results of our meeting with FCPS on their plan to restore academic proficiency.

Where FCPS stands academically

FCPS has chosen the 2022 results as their base year and the spot from which they will track progress. Here is that starting point:

  • Math academic proficiency for elementary, middle, and high school are 41%, 25%, and 44%, respectively.
  • English Language (ELA) results for elementary, middle, and high school are 55%, 52%, and 64%, respectively.
  • FCPS does not test proficiency for science but the state tests 5th-grade, 8th-grade, and high school students. The proficiency results for these three categories for the latest testing conducted (2020) were 42%, 43%, and 49%, respectively.

The state of Maryland conducts its own testing separately by grade. Their 2022 results for math indicated that no grade is above 50% proficiency. The highest was 3rd grade (50%), and the lowest was 8th grade (15%). ELA testing by the state ranged from a high of 69% (10thgrade) to a low of 49% (8th grade).

The FCPS plan

  • FCPS has identified a number of actions that include Accelerated Learning, tutoring, a multi-tiered system of support for schools and teachers, improved teacher efficiency programs, and summer programs.
  • Funding for the programs is not fully secured.
  • Each school is responsible for completing a School Improvement Plan and a progress-monitoring schedule.
  • Individual schools would focus on their own improvement. The principals of each school will be responsible and report results to a central control in FCPS administration.
  • FCPS will test twice yearly, in September and in the Spring.
  • The plan is to report on the efficacy of the programs and the proficiency results of each school.

FCPS Targets and Goals

  • The FCPS plan is to raise academic proficiency by six percentage points per year for math and 3% points per year for ELA. No goal had been set for science at the time of our meeting.
  • The overall goal for academic proficiency for FCPS is a range: 70%-80% proficiency.
  • The plan to reach the targeted level of proficiency is eight years.

Visibility and Accountability Suggestions

We suggested the following:

  • Publish the results of the September and Spring testing on the FCPS website and in the BOE public meeting.
  • Require the BOE to report the progress, including the numerical results, whether the plans are considered on track or behind, the efficacy of each program, what changes to programs will be needed, funding, and which schools are on target and which schools are not.
  • Reporting should be available by grade and school.
  • A review of some of the practices of other schools around the state that are achieving at a higher level (like the Charter Schools) should be done to learn from their success,

FCPS did not commit to any of the above but agreed transparency would be a good idea and would discuss the above with the Superintendent. We have sent a request to Jaime Aliveto, Chief of Schools and Accountability, and Superintendent Dyson, asking for an update on our request for the above.