Friday, February 12, 2016
By David Connerty-MarinTwo recently released independent studies found the PARCC assessment to be one of the strongest systems to assess student readiness for college and careers. The studies, conducted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute (elementary and middle school) and the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO, high school) are just the latest in a string of independent studies that have found PARCC to be a national leader in quality assessments. PARCC received the highest marks possible for measuring of students’ mastery of English language arts, the highest ratings for measuring vocabulary skills, and highlighted PARCC’s use of evidence-based questions. PARCC also scored highly in many other areas.
“These reports definitively confirm what we’ve been saying for some time – PARCC is the highest-quality, best-in-class assessment available,” said Hanna Skandera, Secretary of Education for the New Mexico Public Education Department and Chair of the PARCC Governing Board. “Since the inception of PARCC, we’ve been committed to giving our parents and schools the information they deserve to help our kids reach their full potential.”
The study also found the PARCC test to be more accessible to students with disabilities and English learners than previous state tests, incorporating features such as a built-in highlighter, audio amplification, and magnification for all students, while students with identified needs can use additional tools such as masking cards, text-to-speech for mathematics and color contrast overlays.
PARCC rated an excellent match to the study’s criteria in multiple categories, including for close reading, writing, vocabulary and language, and research and inquiry in all three tests evaluated – elementary, middle and high school. PARCC was found to evaluate the math content that is most important for college and career readiness. And PARCC had the highest percentage by far of evidence-based selected response items of the four tests that were evaluated. The criteria for high quality assessments were determined by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
PARCC and Smarter Balanced, another group of states working together on assessments, were both rated higher than both ACT Aspire and the Massachusetts MCAS, previously considered the leading assessment in the country.
The study is one more in a line of recent studies showing that PARCC is a premier assessment. The National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) released a study in November that found PARCC is better than previous state tests, saying the test better reflects the range of reading and math knowledge and skills that all stu¬dents should master, and better aligns with strong instructional practices, as determined by teachers.
Mathematica Policy Research and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education released studies in October that found PARCC to be effective in identifying students who are ready for college and a strong predictor of getting B grades in college, and found that PARCC assesses the skills that matter.
Read the Fordham Institute study – grades 5 and 8
Read the HumRRO study – high school