Score reports for the first year of PARCC administration (2014-2015 school year) were released in fall 2015. Score reports will be delivered to school districts much sooner in 2016 – by August 18. Local school districts will determine when and how to deliver score reports to parents.
After the assessments were administered for the first time this past spring, educators from PARCC states met over the summer to review the tests and set “threshold scores.” Also known as cut scores, these determine what score each student must earn on the assessment to achieve a particular performance level (levels 1-5). The goal for future years is to deliver score reports as close to the end of the school year as possible.
The PARCC assessments measure whether students are meeting new and higher academic standards and mastering the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the real world – whether they are going on to college or straight into the work force. The new assessments measure more complex skills like critical-thinking, persuasive writing, and problem-solving. Lower test scores do not mean students are learning less; it means the tests have changed and are asking students to meet a higher bar.
This year’s scores set a new baseline from which progress will be measured moving forward. As teachers spend more time focusing on the content outlined in the new standards, and students gain more practice with the skills, scores are expected to improve. Several states have been using tests aligned to higher standards for a few years now, and student achievement has grown considerably.
Teachers and schools use many tools to see how well students are progressing academically, and this test is just one of those tools. Your child’s score should be used as one measure to help teachers focus instruction on what support your child needs to stay or get on track. Students who score at Level 4 or above have met or exceeded the expectations for the grade level or course. If your child scored at Level 3, he or she approached the expectations. If your child scored at Level 2, he or she may need additional support to meet expectations this school year. And students scoring in Level 1 did not meet expectations yet and should receive additional help and support to build their grasp of skills and concepts this school year.
By evaluating students against the new standards from the third grade forward, teachers can step in early to help a child develop the knowledge and skills needed to be more confident and comfortable with the material they are learning.
If you have questions about your child’s scores, first talk to his or her teacher(s) or a school administrator. The PARCC test results can serve as a guide in a discussion about additional support or challenges your child may need in class, as well as other ways to support your child at home.
For more information specific to your state, including how you can reach your state’s Department of Education, visit your state page on our site by clicking on Your State at the top menu. You can also learn more on the PARCC website.
The score report breaks down each subject into different subsets of skills so parents and teachers can identify where a child excels in English language arts/literacy and mathematics, or where he or she needs extra support or practice. PARCC provides the same information to teachers and parents.
Parents can use this information to understand their child’s needs and strengths and work with their schools to identify resources to support their child’s education. Teachers and schools can use this information to better plan instruction, support and enrichment for students in the coming year and to strengthen their instructional programs for all students.
There are many online resources that provide information about the standards for each grade, tools to enhance your child’s learning in these areas, and examples of the types of work that meet standards. We have collected some of the best resources for you. There may also be organizations in your community that have tutoring and enrichment programs. Your local library may have a book club, or a community center may have after-school programs to help with homework. Visit our Help your Child page to find links, helpful teacher videos and other resources.
The score reports provide more than just number scores; they also provide information about subsets of skills that show where your child excels and where he or she may need more support. You can use this information to support your child every day at home. For example, if your child is excelling in reading, you might challenge him or her to read more challenging books, to analyze and report to you on the day’s news from the newspaper or to research and dig deeper into subjects of interest. If your child needs to improve in a certain subject area, talk to his or her teacher about additional support and materials, or use our online resources to locate activities you can use to reinforce learning at home. You can also use everyday moments as educational opportunities to enhance your child’s learning. For example, if your child is struggling with fractions, have him or her help you in the kitchen and use measuring cups or pizza slices to help explain the relationship of parts to a whole.
PARCC tests mirror the work students are doing every day in classrooms, so students do not need to “cram” or study for this test. Because test questions reflect what they are learning and doing in the classroom every day, the best preparation and practice is through the classwork and homework they complete throughout the year. Talking with your student’s teacher can help you determine which skills to reinforce at home.
If your child would like to become familiar with the structure and format of the new tests, a practice test is available online. Actual test questions and examples of all levels of student work are available on the PARCC Partnership Resource Center.
Families of students in grades 3-8 can take advantage of the GreatKids Test Guide for Parents to better understand what their child was tested on and how to support their child’s learning, grade-by-grade and subject-by-subject. To get started, grab your score report and choose your state and the grade your child was in last year. Also available en Espanol.
There are many online resources that provide information about the standards for each grade, tools to enhance your child’s learning in these areas, and examples of the types of work that meet standards. We have collected some of the best resources for you. There may also be organizations in your community that have tutoring and enrichment programs. Your local library may have a book club, or a community center may have after-school programs to help with homework. Visit our Help your Child page to find links, helpful teacher videos and other resources.Continue Reading