Not a Walk in the PARCC

March 31, 2016

What is the PARCC?

The PARCC, or The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is an association of 18 states that worked together and created a standardized assessment to measure high school students’ college and career readiness. The test encompasses the subjects of Mathematics and English Language Arts and is required for grades K-12. For the state of New Jersey, the PARCC fully replaced the NJASK and HSPA assessments in the spring of 2015.

Group of states in the partnership.

Paper and pencil is replaced with computer and tablet for this exam. PARCC officials believe that a digitized test allows students to be engaged and enables faster score reporting. Assessments are available on paper for students with disabilities.  

Construction and Scoring

The Math PBA test is comprised of short-answer and extended-response questions. Students will be tested on their conceptual knowledge, understanding and application of mathematical skills. The Math EOY test will primarily contain short-answer questions.

The English Language Arts PBA test includes research simulation, literary analyses, and narrative tasks. Students will read multiple texts, answer comprehension questions, and write essay responses that require conceptual understanding of the texts. The EOY test will have around five literary/informational texts for students to read and answer subsequent comprehension questions.

Each student’s assessment score will amalgamate the scores from both PBA and EOY assessments from the two subjects. Students can score at levels of Advanced Proficient, Proficient, or Partially Proficient.

Teachers are also assessed on their “Student Growth Percentile” (SGP) rating, which is calculated from their students’ performance-based assessment (PBA) and end-of-year assessment (EOY) scores.

Breakdown of PARCC components.
Breakdown of PARCC components.


Why is the PARCC Important?

Parents have opposed the computer-based test, however, the PARCC exam is truly beneficial for students. The tests are challenging, and that is a good thing because nothing comes easy in life. Students have to work hard and study to prove that they are prepared for success beyond high school, whether that be in college or a career. Moreover, the PARCC’s digital-only access drives educators of younger students to incorporate the teaching of technology into their lesson plans. With a more technologically-adept and educated youth in an ever-expanding interconnected world, the PARCC exam provides far more benefits than detriments.


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