PARCC measures what matters
A core belief held by the states that built and use the PARCC assessment system is that all students have the right to a quality, rigorous test that has the same high expectations for all students, regardless of zip code. Every child has a right to demonstrate what they know and can do.
A string of studies in late 2015 and early 2016 have shown that PARCC is an effective test. The studies show that PARCC is a high quality assessment, aligns to state learning standards, predicts college readiness, compares well to NAEP performance, is endorsed by the country’s top educators, and gives students with disabilities and English learners more tools and access to the test than previous tests.
Here are some highlights of independent research, with links to each study.
- The Center for American Progress released a report in February 2016, Better Tests, Fewer Barriers: Advances in Accessibility through PARCC and Smarter Balanced, which found that PARCC and Smarter Balanced provide better access for students who need additional supports. The Center for American Progress called both tests a “major step forward in accessibility and accommodation features for students with disabilities and English language learners.” The report cites several PARCC features, including the pop-up glossary for preselected words, and tools available to all test-takers, such as the digital notepad, calculator, and highlighter. These features make test taking “more dynamic and user friendly, particularly compared with paper-and-pencil exams,” according to the report.
- In February 2016, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Human Resources Research Organization released studies that demonstrated that PARCC assessments meet the stringent criteria for high quality assessments set by the Council of Chief State School Officers, and showed PARCC to be rigorous, aligned to standards, useful to teachers, and accessible to students with disabilities and English learners.
- The National Benchmarks for State Achievement Standards Study from the American Institutes for Research, also released in February 2016, found PARCC is the most rigorous multi-state test and closest to NAEP in its expectations for college readiness.
- In November 2015, Mathematica Policy Research reported that PARCC is a strong predictor of success in college, and a Massachusetts Department of Education report found that PARCC assesses the skills that matter most.
- A review by teachers who are part of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year in November 2015 found that PARCC is particularly strong at assessing complex skills and aligning closely with high‐quality instruction.