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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 21, 2015

PARCC Announces Changes to Shorten Test

MALDEN - The PARCC Governing Board, which is made up of state education commissioners, voted Wednesday to change the test from two testing windows to one and shorten the test by approximately 90 minutes for most students in the 2015-16 school year. Approximately half of Massachusetts' grades 3-8 districts are administering Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments this spring instead of MCAS as part of the commonwealth's two-year test drive of PARCC. The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will decide this fall whether to adopt PARCC in place of MCAS English language arts and math tests. The PARCC Governing Board's vote came in response to feedback from school districts and teachers and after a careful review of the test design. The changes will improve and simplify PARCC test administration for schools, teachers and students. This spring's PARCC testing is being administered in two parts — the performance based tests conducted in early spring and the end-of-year tests conducted closer to the end of the school year. Five million students in 11 states and the District of Columbia are taking PARCC assessments this spring. On May 20, 2015, the PARCC Governing Board voted to:
  • Reduce the testing time for students by about 90 minutes overall (60 minutes in mathematics; 30 minutes in English language arts) and make the test unit times more uniform.
  • Consolidate the two testing windows in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (which includes reading and writing) into one.
  • Reduce the number of test units by two or three for all students.
"I am happy to support these changes, which are designed to make PARCC easier for schools to schedule and which will reduce the amount of time students spend on the assessment," said Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester. "We continue to listen to the field as we learn from this initial PARCC administration." A small percentage of students each year will take a longer test in order to field test longer English language arts questions. Those students will spend as much time on PARCC as students did this spring. The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is holding a series of public forums about PARCC. The remaining three forums are: About PARCC The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is a consortium of states working together to develop a set of mathematics and English language arts assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in the next grade and, ultimately, after high school. The PARCC consortium governing board is made up of the education commissioners and superintendents from each PARCC state: Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Louisiana and Mississippi also are administering the PARCC assessments this year, as are the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Bureau of Indian Education. ###

Last Updated: May 21, 2015

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