Massachusetts Top 10 PARCC and Common Core questions

Here is the list of the top 10 PARCC and Common Core questions that many parents and educators often worry about in Massachusetts. This will help in guiding you and enhancing your understanding with regards to these standards.

1. Is Common Core a federal mandate that does not let the local power authorize control?

No, it is not. Massachusetts has played a lead role in creating a Common Core. Apart from this, the core has outlined all the aspects that the students should cover and know about at each grade level. However, these standards will not be incorporating the teaching methodology and practices that will have to be incorporated by teachers, schools, and districts.

2. Why was the Common Core adopted by the Commonwealth, and why is PARCC considered by the state?

The state of Massachusetts is very particular when it comes to the education of its youth. And it wants to ensure that its students learn what they should be knowing at each of the grade levels. The Massachusetts curriculum standards are hence constantly upgraded by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the local educators. The Common Core development started in 2009 and the upgrades by the educators and the state were happening even then. The new standards in math focus on much lesser topics on a yearly basis so that the students get enough time to learn the various concepts. The standards in the English language arts also require students to write and speak in various forms and have their ideas supported with authoritative source evidence. The MCAS, or the Massachusetts state assessment, was established 17 years ago, but the test was never made for predicting the college readiness of the students. PARCC might just be a possible replacement for the math and English MCAS tests.

3. Has the Common Core reduced the high standards of the state for math and literature?

No, it hasn’t. Massachusetts has its own set list of authors recommended that is separate from the prior ELA standards of the commonwealth. The extensive list consists of writers such as Herman Melville, Langston Hughes, and Mark Twain. As far as the math standards are concerned, fewer topics every year will be focused upon so that the students have enough time to prepare the concepts that have been taught.

4. Has the Common Core been adopted in a public procedure?

Yes, it has. Common Core public drafts had been released by the Council of Chief State School Officers in February 2010. Along with this, draft standards for the public comment had been released in May 2010 by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Independent panels had been appointed by the Commissioner Mitchell Chester.

5. Do all states have the same common core?

No, they don’t. 15% of the standards can be customized by the states. Massachusetts has added more than 20 math standards along with ELA and pre-kindergarten standards.

6. When was the Common Core included in the syllabus at the Massachusetts schools?

It all started in the fall of 2011.

7. Does the Common Core include PARCC?

No, it does not. While the PARCC measures whether the students have acquired the skills and concepts that have been outlined in the Common Core, it is completely separate.

8. Will the personal information of my child be secure if they take a PARCC test?

Yes. The Commonwealth’s Fair Information Practices Act and the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act govern the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and there are clear policies with regards to the use and collection of student data. This means that the parents do not have to worry about anything.

9. How do I get more information on the PARCC and Common Core?

In order to get more information, you can visit:

• the published parent guides by the National PTA of the grade by grade common core in both Spanish and English

• the official web page of PARCC Massachusetts

• the official PARCC website

• the MA Curriculum Frameworks incorporating the state standards of the Common Core

10. How do I find out about the districts that are using the PARCC testing system in the spring of 2015?

The department’s website has a complete list and summary of the assessment decisions of the districts for the spring of 2015.
With these questions answered, you should have a more comprehensive overview regarding PARCC and the Common Core in the state of Massachusetts.


Paul Cook

With nearly ten years as the head writer and editor for a successful marketing company, and five additional years as a freelancer, Paul has written about hundreds of topics in an entertaining and informative way. He has also produced crisp, professional and sales-driven marketing copy along with print and email advertising campaigns that capture the unique personalities of his clients and communicate the superiority of their services.

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