New PARCC Testing: Preparing for Common Core in Illinois

This year Illinois is rolling out their new Common Core assessments. These new assessments will be aligned with PARCC Common Core standards. These new standards will help prepare children to enter college, and the job market upon graduating. Many parents and educators have numerous questions about the assessments. This article will try to clear up some of the common questions about the PARCC testing that is being introduced this year. It will also give teachers and parents some valuable information, and resources that can help make the transition to the new test easier.

Assessment types: What are they, and what are they used for?

In preparation for PARCC testing, there are some fairly new terms being used on a regular basis by people in the education community. When it comes to assessments, there is some key assessments that not only the teachers but parents should also know the meaning to.
Formative assessment: This test is given by teachers in the classroom throughout the year. It is given as a diagnostic test to gauge the readiness of their students for specific areas with the content area. These tests can help teachers to identify needs that need to be addressed prior to the end of the year assessment.

Interim assessment:

This assessment is used in intervals to judge how well a student is improving. An example of this would be a teacher giving a test on Multiplying at the beginning of the school year. She would then give the same test to the students a month later. She can compare both tests to see what improvements have been made in that area.

Summative assessment:

This would be the end of the year assessment given by the state. Its goal would be to evaluate the progress of the student against that of the pre-determined standards for their subject and grade level. This is another name for the PARCC test. Eventually teachers and administrators will be held accountable for the results of this testing, as part of their yearly review.

Key Benefits of PARCC Testing:

Faster result reporting:

There are many key benefits to the new PARCC testing. Eventually the results will be reported faster and will be more accessible to both schools, and parents. This will allow for both to be able to keep better track of their students, or children’s progress towards the new standards that have been established. In this way, School districts can better address students’ problem areas faster and help to improve the areas that students are struggling.

Computer-based test:

Computer-based testing is something that will become more common in the future. It will eventually replace paper, and pencil based assessments completely at least for state-wide testing. There are some key advantages to Computer-based testing. The main advantage is a computer-based test can have multiple type questions that engage the children to think at a higher level. It allows for a more effective testing product at multiple levels. The PARCC tests will eventually be all computer based, but at this time not all school districts have the capacity to administer them as computer based.

What to Expect from PARCC Testing:

With anything new, there are always questions about what to expect? There are some things that Parents and teachers can expect to happen with these new assessments.

Lower score than in the past:

This is an expected outcome of implementing something new. The new PARCC assessment is so different than the previous assessment given by the state. A drop in scores is expected in the short-term. The reason behind this is both teachers and students are getting used to this more rigorous testing and standards. There will be a short period of adjustment to this new testing. It is expected and nothing to be alarmed by. There are resources out there to help both teachers and students to get comfortable with these new assessments quicker. We will look at a few of these:

PARCC Website:

On this website, there is Illinois specific information for you to get better equipped for the PARCC testing. It will give you information on the assessments, dates for assessments, and helpful links to help you become informed about PARCC and the upcoming testing.

Lumos Learning:

This website will give you affordable ways to get your child prepared for both the paper and pencil assessments, and the online assessments their product is a must have to help your child prepare for the PARCC assessment. Their online and physical workbooks are fully aligned to Illinois PARCC standards and are all developed by expert teachers. In addition, they have great blogs, and PARCC related information that will be useful for you. This is a great resource for both schools and parents.

Illinois Board of Education website:

This website is full of useful information, and links to other great sites that will help you to understand the new PARCC assessments. It also has some great links to help both Teac


Jeremy Brunton

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