A Different Kind of Test
Looking for Correct Answers as well as comprehensionThe way some PARCC test questions are asked may look unfamiliar. While an old test was looking for the right answer, these tests are also looking for evidence that the student understands and can apply concepts.
There's no better way to see the difference than to look at side-by-side examples of "old" test items and PARCC test items:
The assessments were shortened prior to the 2015-16 school year, and will be continue to be administered in one testing window. Please visit PARCC's Design Changes page for more information on the evolution of the assessment.
Students read passages from real texts — fiction and non-fiction, and sometimes watch video or listen to audio. They write, using what they've learned from the passages and multi-media to support their arguments. These skills are critically important for students in college and in the workplace. In the past, students have typically been asked to write only once in each grade span — in elementary, middle, and high school. PARCC measures writing at every grade because it is key to showing readiness for the next academic work, and in high school, readiness for college and career.
Students also solve multi-step math problems that require reasoning and address real-world situations. This requires students to reason mathematically, make sense of quantities and their relationships to solve real-world problems, and show their understanding. Many previous assessments focused mostly on rote procedure only.
Students participate in the end-of-year component shortly before the end of the school year. This consists of innovative, short-answer questions and items to measure concepts and skills. Students demonstrate their understanding of literary and informational reading passages and give definitions of words based on their reading of texts, rather than on memorization. They also show understanding of mathematics concepts, procedures and short applications.
Take the test: try one of the practice tests for yourself.