Preliminary PARCC Scores Give Us New Baseline, Show Us Where We Need to Go
In September, the Illinois State Board of Education released the preliminary results of the PARCC test that students took for the first time last spring. PARCC stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, and it is the first test to measure progress against the new, higher Illinois Learning Standards in English Language Arts and mathematics now being taught in classrooms across the state.
The preliminary results set a new baseline for test scores for Illinois students. They provide essential data that can be used to advocate for more resources for high-need students and districts. They also let teachers and parents know if their students are ready for what comes next, whether that is the next grade, college, or their career.
While the scores seem lower than results of tests taken in the past, this was not unexpected. With new standards and assessments, we are now measuring student progress in a way we haven’t before, so these results should not be compared to results from previous state tests. Instead, they give us a real look at how our students are succeeding and where they need supports. In this baseline year, the scores will not be used for teacher or school accountability.
Individual student reports will be coming later in the year, and there are many resources to help parents understand them and use them to support student achievement. These include:
Our students are more than the results of one test, but PARCC provides valuable information that gives us a clearer picture of where our students are and how to support them. Illinois is heading in the right direction as our state moves toward a system of measuring school performance that accounts not only for student proficiency, but also (and more importantly) student progress. Real Learning for Real Life, www.reallearningil.org and www.reallearningil.org/espanol, provides accessible information and resources about the new standards and assessment for parents and teachers. More information, including practice tests and sample questions, can be found on the PARCC website at www.parcconline.org.