The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a multi-state consortium, including Massachusetts, working to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. These new K-12 assessments are designed to build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students' progress toward this goal beginning in grade 3, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support.
On November 19, 2013, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to conduct a two-year pilot of the PARCC K-12 assessments in Massachusetts. Beginning in March 2014, approximately 81,000 students – or about 8 percent of the state's total public school enrollment in grades 3 - 11 – will take a PARCC field test in English language arts or mathematics.
Following this year's field test of PARCC, school districts in 2014-15 will have the option of administering either PARCC or MCAS to students in grades 3-11. Grade 10 students through the class of 2018 will continue to be required to pass the grade 10 MCAS tests in English language arts and mathematics and a high school science and technology/engineering test to meet the state's Competency Determination requirement and earn a high school diploma. In fall 2015, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote whether to adopt and fully implement PARCC in English language arts and mathematics, and thereby replace MCAS in those two subjects. (The MCAS science and technology/engineering test would continue in its current form.)
PARCC holds the potential to be the next-generation student testing program that is better aligned to our new college and career ready standards and well-positioned to build on the strengths of MCAS. Over the next two years, Massachusetts will have a chance to pilot the new PARCC tests and compare them to MCAS. The PARCC assessments hold the promise to build on the strengths of the Commonwealth’s current testing program and deliver features that are currently not possible under MCAS to ensure that all students are well prepared for success after high school.
Helpful PARCC Informational Resource