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For Immediate Release
Monday, August 20, 2012
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

PARCC Releases Initial Set of Item and Task Prototypes and Updated, Interactive Model Content Frameworks

First glimpse into the connection between the Common Core State Standards and new, innovative assessments being developed by the 23-state consortium

MALDEN - The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) today released its first set of item and task prototypes. "The prototypes are a first step in demonstrating what is possible with new assessment technology that captures students' application of knowledge and skills that are essential to success in the 21st century," said Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, chair of the PARCC Governing Board. "The prototypes are illustrative of the next-generation PARCC assessment system that reflects the Common Core State Standards." The 2011 Massachusetts curriculum frameworks in English language arts and mathematics are based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). PARCC is a 23-state consortium, of which Massachusetts is a member, working together to create new assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics planned for administration beginning in 2014–2015. The primary purpose of sharing item and task prototypes is to provide information to educators and to support them as they transition to the CCSS and the PARCC assessments. The dynamic, online prototypes presented on the PARCC website demonstrate that core shifts at the heart of the CCSS are also integrated into the design of PARCC's technology-based assessments. Educators will find more than just sample test questions. Every item and task prototype is annotated with the standard being measured, the type of assessment on which it would appear, and a link to the revised PARCC Model Content Frameworks, which serve as a bridge between the CCSS and the PARCC assessments. In addition to the released item and task prototypes, the website provides other ancillary materials developed to build understanding of how the prototypes illuminate the richness of the CCSS. These materials include:
  • PowerPoint presentations to explain the advances planned for the PARCC assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics
  • Item-specific information, including a description of how items are aligned to the standards and how items will be scored
This initial release of 26 prototypes is just the beginning. Over the next two years, additional prototypes and rubrics will be released to represent the full range of assessment tasks that will be included on actual PARCC assessments beginning in 2014–2015. These new additions will help to paint a more complete picture of the PARCC assessment design in each content area and at each grade level. The PARCC Leadership Team directed the development and review of this collaborative effort through its managing partner, Achieve, and through contracts with Student Achievement Partners, the University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Learning, the University of Texas at Austin's Dana Center, Illustrative Mathematics and Bill McCallum of the University of Arizona, ETS, and Pearson. Funding for the development of the prototype website was made possible by a grant to Achieve from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In addition to the release of the prototypes, PARCC is releasing updated versions of the Model Content Frameworks for ELA/literacy and mathematics. PARCC held a public comment period in June 2012 asking educators and other stakeholders to provide suggestions on areas in the frameworks that needed additional specificity or clarity. The Model Content Frameworks for mathematics now include a revised high school section that provides assessment guidance for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, and for Mathematics I, Mathematics II, and Mathematics III. In order to make the frameworks more accessible and user friendly, with the support of the GE Foundation, PARCC developed a searchable online version of the Model Content Frameworks. The site includes a search browser, an online glossary, and direct references back to the standards. To view the prototypes and the Model Content Frameworks, please visit

Last Updated: August 20, 2012

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