Questions and Answers About PARCC

    What is PARCC?

    · The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of 19 states working together to develop a common set of computer-based K–12 assessments in English language arts/Literacy and math linked to the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

    · PARCC is one of two state consortia developing assessments aligned to the CCSS through the federal Race to the Top assessment grant program.

    Why do states need new assessments?

    · These tests will provide more meaningful, actionable and timely information for educators, parents and students because they were built to mirror the Common Core instructional standards.

    · The PARCC assessments will replace state tests currently used to meet the requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

    Which states make up PARCC?

    · PARCC is made up of 19 states. Nineteen are Governing States in the consortium: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Kentucky and Pennsylvania are Participating States. The U.S. Virgin Islands is a participating territory.

    What are the benefits of the PARCC assessments?

    · In ELA/literacy, many states don’t assess writing and few assess critical-thinking skills. PARCC will do both.

    · In math, most current assessments are fill-in-the-blank “bubble tests.” PARCC will give students a chance to solve real problems. Plus, they’ll not only have to solve complex problems, but show how they solved them.

    · Many current state tests measure only lower-level skills. The new assessments are designed to measure whether students are actually on track for college or careers.

    · Most current tests just require students to fill in the blanks. PARCC’s computer-based assessments will be much more interactive and engaging.

    · Too often, current tests fail to adequately measure the skills and knowledge of students working significantly below or beyond their grade level. PARCC assessments will.

    · The new tests will create comparability among states and equity among the students who reside in them. What it means to be ready for success in college or careers shouldn’t vary from state to state.


    What are the components of the PARCC assessment system?

    The assessments will cover English language arts (ELA)/literacy and math for grades 3–11. The system includes the following components:

    · Diagnostic assessments in reading, writing and mathematics. These optional tests, available throughout the year, will help teachers identify students’ strengths and weaknesses.

    · Mid-year assessments in ELA/literacy and mathematics. Designed to be given mid-way through the year, these optional tests will help schools shape decisions about curriculum, instruction and professional development.

    · Performance-based assessments (PBA) in ELA/literacy and mathematics. All students will take this summative test toward the end of the school year to show what they know.

    · In ELA/literacy, this will involve analyzing literature and a narrative writing task. Students will read texts and write several pieces to demonstrate they can read and understand sufficiently complex texts independently; write effectively when using and analyzing sources; and build and communicate knowledge by integrating, comparing and synthesizing ideas.

    · In math, students will be asked to solve problems involving the key knowledge and skills for their grade level (as identified by the CCSS), express mathematical reasoning and construct a mathematical argument, and apply concepts to solve model real-world problems.

    · End-of-year assessments (EOY) in ELA/literacy and math. All students will take this at the end of the school year. The results will be combined with the performance-based assessment to produce a student’s summative assessment score. For the end-of-year assessment, students will demonstrate their acquired skills and knowledge by answering computer-based, machine-scorable questions.

    · Speaking and listening component (ELA/literacy only). All students participating in the PARCC assessments will demonstrate speaking and listening proficiency using this tool, which can be administered anytime during the academic year. While this is a required component of the assessment, currently PARCC does not envision combining results from this with those of the performance-based assessment or end-of-year assessment to determine a student’s summative assessment score.

    Visit www.parcconline.org for more information.