PARCC in Massachusetts

One teacher's attempt to connect with other educators across Massachusetts and beyond and provide relevant, up-to-date, and sometime helpful information on next generation assessments, common core state standards implementation, and college and career ready initiatives

Next Steps toward PARCC


This summer has brought some big developments, some of which are still unfolding, within the PARCC consortium.  The loss of states from PARCC may reflect a “right-sizing” of the consortia.  The monumental changes that follow from adopting new standards as well as, in many states, adopting teacher evaluation systems, have started to dampen any initial impulses for also changing assessment systems in fundamental ways.  As a result transition to robust, digital assessment systems will likely be a matter of pace; a no to PARCC today does not necessarily mean that states will never work toward adoption of a similar next generation assessment  (or return to PARCC) over the coming years.

Massachusetts is moving forward with the PARCC assessment, and this summer Mitchell Chester announced some of the next steps to be taken toward PARCC.  In addition, the recent announcement of PARCC field tests also brings a new sense of an actual transition from the respected MCAS.  I am still digesting the information on field tests and Mitchell Chester’s announcement, but plan to have an “analysis” of these changes in post over the next four weeks.

Here are the key part of the timeline for the next two years.

Spring 2014 PARCC Field Tests
  • Approximately 10% of MA students in grades 3-11 randomly selected, by grade and classroom
  • Required participation (will entertain exceptions due to extraordinary circumstances)
  • Computer-based or paper-and-pencil
  • Testing windows
    • Performance-based assessment (PBA) in ELA & math: March 24-April 11
    • End-of-year (EOY) assessment in ELA & math:  May 12-June 6
  • Grade 10 students will be selected for EOY only

Spring 2015 PARCC Field Tests

  • Dual administration of PARCC & MCAS, but no required double-testing
  • Districts/schools choose PARCC or MCAS
  • For accountability, ESE is considering a “held harmless” policy for districts/schools that choose PARCC
  • PARCC will offer computer-based & paper-and-pencil tests

Finally, here is what is known  about the plan for the high school competency determination:

  •  At least through Class of 2017:  Grade 10 MCAS tests/retests in ELA, Mathematics, & Science/Technology/Engineering
  • Spring 2015 Grade 10 students will take MCAS (not PARCC) for CD
  • STE tests will continue during PARCC implementation
  • This fall:  ESE will provide updates for classes of 2018 & beyond
Again, as I have a better understanding of what this timeline means I will share what I learn.  I also hope to reflect on this and make some meaning of it for myself, and my students and families.

One comment on “Next Steps toward PARCC

  1. Pingback: PARCC Video Series from PBS | PARCC in Massachusetts

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This entry was posted on September 1, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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The opinion expressed within each post is my own and is not a reflection of the Massachusetts' Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, PARCC, or any other body.

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