Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers

Test Design

Annual Assessment Design

PARCC’s annual assessments are available in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics for grades 3-8 and high school. They serve as the annual tests for most of the grades in the states in which it is administered.

The tests were developed over several years by a wide range of educators, researchers, psychometricians, and others from the PARCC states.

Key milestones included developing college-and career-ready determination policies and performance-level descriptors in ELA/literacy and math to describe:

  • What it takes for students to succeed in entry-level, college courses and relevant technical courses, and
  • The knowledge, skills, and practices students performing at a given level are able to demonstrate at any grade.

In summer 2015, PARCC set performance levels, which indicate what level of performance a student’s work represents, with Level 1 indicating the greatest need for improvement and Level 5 indicating the strongest performance.

The assessments were design based on extensive and ongoing research.

PARCC Test Item Life Cycle

Every PARCC test item starts with the standards and then goes through a rigorous review by more than 30 people, including teachers and other educators from the PARCC states. At any point, a test item might get sent back to be rewritten – or thrown out altogether.

PARCC has created a graphic that visualizes the process of creating, developing and implementing test items.

Released Items from PARCC Assessments

PARCC states are providing a groundbreaking instructional tool to spur student achievement. They have released test items from the PARCC assessment to give teachers a powerful tool to guide their classroom instruction.

The released test questions represent roughly one full test per grade level in each subject area. Examples of scored student responses are also available for teachers and students to see actual work and the corresponding points earned on the student example.

The test items were built with robust mathematics problems and authentic reading passages selected and reviewed extensively by dozens of educators from PARCC states. You can browse Released Items here.