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PARCC Assessments, Common Core and Illinois

Posted by Jana Krausfeldt on Mar 19, 2014

by Carol Snyder

As your PTA Legislative Representative, I am reaching out to inform you of significant impending standardized testing changes and related legislation currently under consideration.

In 2010, along with 45 other states, Illinois adopted a set of educational performance standards known as the Common Core.  Consequently, new next-generation assessments that more accurately measure student performance have become necessary.  So, the Illinois State Board of Education, led by State Superintendent Chris Koch, decided that Illinois should join a multi-state consortium - the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).  This consortium developed what is known as PARCC Assessments, a common set of computer-based K-12 tests in English language arts and math aligned to the Common Core standards.  Superintendent Koch serves on PARCC's Governing Board.  PARCC Assessments will replace current state assessments (ISAT, PSAE and eventually the ACT) in grades 3-11 at all Illinois public schools beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

The adoption of PARCC Assessments for Common Core standards is somewhat controversial. Numerous bills have recently been introduced to the Illinois General Assembly attempting to delay the Common Core and PARCC.  If successful, delaying PARCC Assessments would allow Illinois time to more fully evaluate the increased funding demands and monitor the development of other assessment models, such as Smarter Balanced and ACT Aspire.

A few highlights, as well as informational links, are found below.  Please familiarize yourself with this critical issue and consider contacting your legislators to express your opinion.

PARCC Assessment Impact Highlights

  • More rigorous test fully aligned to Common Core standards.
  • Significant testing time increase in grades 3-11, e.g.: 5th graders test time will double.
  • Expanded PARCC testing window conflicts with high school AP exams, final exams and ACT.
  • ACT will be eliminated as part of the State-mandated assessment model.
  • Colleges and universities use ACT, but not PARCC, as a key admissions metric.
  • Testing timeline outlined by PARCC consumes roughly 80% of available high school days during 4th quarter.
  • Nearly all of District 205 computer resources will be dedicated to testing during two 4 week testing windows.

Suburban Chicago Superintendents' Recommendation Highlights In Response to Impact

Note: Superintendent Koch has not yet responded to these recommendations.

  • Delay implementation of PARCC at grades 9 and 10 for two years.
  • Indefinitely delay PARCC at grade 11 until accepted as a college admissions exam.
  • Retain school-day funded ACT in grade 11 during delayed implementation period.
  • Monitor development of other assessment models aligned to Common Core.
  • Confirm state funding for PARCC and ACT.

Illinois State Board of Education FAQ

http://www.isbe.net/assessment/pdfs/parcc/parcc-faq-0214.pdf

30 suburban Chicago Superintendents recently sent their opinion to State Superintendent Koch.

http://www.news-gazette.com/pdf/2014-02-23/letter-testing-school-superintendents.html

PARCC Data Privacy & Security Policy

Read about uses for personally identifiable student and family data to be provided to contractors, research firms, PARCC, the state and (if legally required or with state approval) the federal government.

http://www.parcconline.org/sites/parcc/files/PARCC%20Privacy%20Security%20Policy_Adopted%20by%20GB_12-05-13.pdf

Bills introduced to Illinois General Assembly:

Contact your State Senator (Kirk Dillard) to express your opinion.

Contact your State Representative (Patti Bellock) to express your opinion.

Do you have an opinion about PARCC?  Share it!

Use the following tool to look up and contact your legislators

http://www.ieanea.org/legislative/find-your-legislators/

Contact State Superintendent Christopher Koch and the Illinois State Board of Education

http://www.isbe.state.il.us/%5C/board/pdf/board_contact_info.pdf

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