This brief overview of the PARCC (administered in Spring 2015) is written for the Stoddert parent community with the goal of further clarifying how the test, and its results, specifically relate to the Stoddert school community. It is not meant to be a substitute for any materials that accompany test results sent home or information provided by the Office of State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) office.
PARCC – What Is It?
As you likely know, all District students take standardized assessments and tests. While there are several assessment tools used throughout the school year, the primary one (adopted and administered for the first time in the District last spring) is called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or PARCC. PARCC assessments generally fall into two categories: English language arts (ELA)/literacy and mathematics. The PARCC replaces the DC Comprehensive Assessment System or DCCAS.
According to its website, PARCC represents a consortium of states that have agreed to use the same student assessment. During school year 2014-15, the District along with the following 11 states administered PARCC: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio and Rhode Island. In the District, DC public schools, as well as charter schools, took the PARCC assessment. Stoddert students in 3rd through 5th grades took the first PARCC tests in Spring 2015. .
The District’s 2014-15 PARCC results were recently published—first the city’s high school results were released in late-October 2015 followed by the city’s elementary and middle school results (3rd -8th grades) on November 30, 2015.
How Did Stoddert Fare?
When the District adopted PARCC last school year it was said often that parents should anticipate a significant drop in scores for several reasons:
- Whenever a new assessment is adopted there are typically decreases in scores while the system works out the kinks involved in any new implementation (teachers need to understand it, students need to understand it, etc.);
- PARCC is widely described as a more rigorous test than DC CAS, better aligned with Common Core (the academic standards used by the District) and aimed at giving a more accurate view of how well our students understand the academic concepts being taught;
- PARCC was administered online for all tested grades—no more paper and pencil tests, which was new for many students.
Despite the warnings, Stoddert students performed remarkably well and we should be very proud of both our children and our fabulous teaching staff! Stoddert scored 13th out of 161 public and charter schools across the District (grades 3rd – 8th) in ELA and 3rd in the entire city for math.
For those of you who love data, the Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) has made available aggregate and school-specific PARCC results that can be sorted in all sorts of ways: http://osse.dc.gov/node/1120842
The Stoddert parent community should take a moment to feel pride for how well our students performed and congratulate our very special Stoddert staff for the positive results that exceeded expectations. It’s important to note that teachers are not being evaluated based upon PARCC data this first year of testing.
Understanding the Results
Under PARCC, a child’s assessment will fall into one of five levels:
- Level 1 = did not yet meet expectations
- Level 2 = partially met expectations
- Level 3 = approached expectations
- Level 4 = met expectations
- Level 5 = exceeded expectations
The national standard is that all students should reach level 4 or 5, although states set their own proficiency standards. In October 2015 the D.C. State Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the national standard, embracing the goal that all students meet or exceed expectations.
Following is a snapshot of Stoddert’s ELA results (133 students tested):
3.0% Level 1
9.0% Level 2
24.8% Level 3
50.4% Level 4
12.8% Level 5
That means 63.2% of our students either met or exceeded expectations.
Following is a snapshot of Stoddert’s Math results (134 students tested):
0.0% Level 1
11.2% Level 2
16.4% Level 3
54.5% Level 4
17.9% Level 5
That means 72.4% of our students either met or exceeded expectations.
How Did My Child Do?
If your child took the PARCC last school year, you will receive a report about his or re
r results. Timing is not yet finalized for this and it may come in the mail or via your child’s school folder. As soon as Stoddert’s administration knows this information it will be communicated to the parent community. The PARCC website offers several resources aimed at helping parents understand the score reports and there will be additional guidance that accompanies the reports that go home.
Click here to see a mock ELA PARCC score report.
Click here to see a mock Math PARCC score report.
How Will Results be Used at Stoddert?
Stoddert’s administration will keep the parent community informed of how test results will be used. Currently test results for Stoddert students will only be used as far as helping teachers determine areas of weakness and strength within the curriculum. For example, if students are routinely scoring high in one academic concept and not in another then this provides a guide for teachers in strengthening and targeting lessons plans, etc. Test results will be part of your child’s school record but currently are not used for any decision-making with regards to your child and his/her educational path.
Certainly as a parent you should review your child’s test scores and reach out to your child’s teacher or to the school administration with any questions and/or concerns raised by the results.
The PARCC will be administered each school year in the spring. For SY 2015-16 students will be tested over a period of one week sometime during the testing window of April 11 through May 20, 2016. Principal Bryant will work with his staff to schedule Stoddert’s testing days.
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) is still determining whether PARCC results from this year will be factored into teacher evaluations.
The PARCC tests being given this spring will be an hour shorter in math and 30 minutes shorter in ELA than last year and the testing will take place over the course of one week instead of two.
Test results from PARCC tests given in Spring 2016 should be available in a much faster timeframe – possibly before the end of the school year. The delay in results from tests given in Spring 2015 has been attributed to the need to be meticulous and exacting in how the initial “Levels” were set based on the initial information provided by this first round of PARCC testing.
The official PARCC website is chock full of information including practice tests if you wish to understand more about the content and framing of questions.
Beyond PARCC, DC Public Schools utilize many other student assessments. Click here if you would like to familiarize yourself with the assessments currently administered at the elementary level. This document provides a brief explanation of each assessment: what type it is, the grades that are tested, the established testing window and the duration of each assessment.
Finally, while we’ve attempted to give you some insight about PARCC and other student assessments used by the District as it relates to Stoddert and our student population we’re sure this information will prompt requests for more information! Please feel comfortable directing your questions to Principal Bryant, the main DCPS office, OSSE or your Parent/Teaching Organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations, again, to our students and teachers for their terrific performance on the PARCC!
–Leigh McKenna, PTO Chair of Special Projects