The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Update on PARCC

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
February 14, 2014

In November 2013, the Board voted to adopt a two-year transition period before a decision is made on whether to fully implement the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. The two-year transition period will allow for a robust comparison of MCAS and PARCC while providing teachers and administrators across the Commonwealth with additional time to refine their implementation of the 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, which incorporate the Common Core State Standards. The Board will use evidence collected from the two-year try-out of PARCC to decide in the fall of 2015 whether to sunset the MCAS ELA and mathematics assessments for grades 3-8 and fully adopt PARCC as the state's testing program for these subjects beginning in spring 2016.

On February 10, the Department released a list of the public schools where students in grades 3-11 will participate in this spring's PARCC field test. Beginning in March, approximately 81,000 students - or about 8 percent of the state's total public school enrollment - will take a PARCC field test in English language arts or mathematics. The field test will allow students to experience the new computer-based testing format (for those taking the online version of the field test) before the assessment counts. It will also allow us to determine the fairness, validity, and accuracy of test questions - which is important to our ability to build the best test we can. As a reminder, no participating student will receive a score or grade based on her or his performance on the field test. Enclosed is a copy of this week's press release on the PARCC field test along with the list of participating districts and schools.

At the Board meeting on February 25, I will provide a further update on PARCC. Senior Associate Commissioner Bob Bickerton will attend the meeting and present on the technology-enhanced test items that are available online.


Massachusetts Districts and Schools Participating in the Spring 2014 PARCC Field Test (as of 2-6-14)