The percentage of students considered proficient on one of the state's 3rd grade English Language Arts test, either the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
Early literacy skills are critical to a successful school experience. Third grade is considered an important milestone in a student's career in terms of reading proficiency and is correlated to whether a student will graduate high school. Up through 3rd grade, students are learning to read; after 3rd grade, they must be able to read in order to learn.
In 2018, 50% of Essex County 3rd graders were considered proficient in reading, up 5 percentage points from 2017. Among districts, rates were highest in 2018 in Community Day Charter Public School-Gateway (86%), Lynnfield (79%) and Swampscott (74%), and lowest in Lawrence (32%) and Salem (34%).
In Essex County in 2018, proficiency was lower among economically disadvantaged students (34%), Hispanic students (35%) and African American students (42%) compared with students who are not economically disadvantaged, white or Asian (61%, 58% and 65%, respectively). However, gains were stronger in some groups, with proficiency up 7 points among Hispanic students and 11 points among African American students from 2017.
Middlesex, MA had a higher proficiency rate in 2018 at 59%. Disparities were similar in both counties.
As assessments vary among states, it is not possible to include comparable data for the nation or other areas in this indicator. Data from earlier years is not comparable due to changes in the state test.