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PARCC Update

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
April 18, 2014.


At the April 29, 2014 meeting I will update the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on progress made by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) over the past several weeks, including a summary of the performance based assessments (PBA) field test that concluded on Friday, April 11th. This update complements the discussion we will have Monday evening focusing on the implications of a possible transition of PARCC at the high school level; a separate memorandum will provide you with more information regarding this item on the agenda.

As I highlighted in my April 4, 2014 weekly update to the Board, the field test is providing us with the information and feedback we need to ensure a successful implementation of the first operational assessments during the 2014/15 school year. The vast majority of students and schools selected for the PBA stage of the field tests have completed them. Several themes have emerged, some that point to needed improvements such as tools available to students that are used for the mathematics assessments (e.g., the "equation editor), and others that point in a positive direction such as students from diverse backgrounds and different learning challenges embracing the benefits of the online administration of the PARCC assessments. At our April 29th meeting I expect to present hard numbers as well as some broader insights about the field test experience to date and what we are learning from it.

I will also provide updates on the following PARCC milestones:

  • How the PARCC multi-state consortium will wrap up its work under the U.S. Department of Education grant that has supported development of these assessments since September 2010.
  • How PARCC states will transition to the upcoming "operational phase" of PARCC, including how Massachusetts will engage in this process.
  • How PARCC states will procure the services of a PARCC Program Manager through the release of a request for proposals (RFP) by the state of Rhode Island. The Program Manager will support the transition to "operational PARCC, coordination among the governing states, and ensure that all contractors meet the highest standards for quality and innovation in these next generation student assessments."
  • The process Massachusetts school districts will use to decide whether to administer PARCC or MCAS for grades 3-9 and 11 in the coming school year. (Only MCAS will be administered for the grade 10 competency determinations in English language arts and mathematics.)

We are halfway through stage one of our two-year "test drive "of the new PARCC assessments. I look forward to providing these updates and to continuing our discussion as we guide Massachusetts through this process.

Last Updated: April 23, 2014
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