Note Regarding PARCC Scores

In the spring of 2015, Illinois students participated in a new state assessment called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam, in English language arts and math. The PARCC assessment replaces the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and marks a significant change from these previous assessments.  Our District Dashboard reflects the changes in Illinois standardized assessments which will begin to be displayed as current and future scores become available.   

The PARCC exam asks students to demonstrate and apply their knowledge and skills, rather than reciting facts and filling in a bubble for the correct answer. The test lines up with the updated Illinois Common Core Learning Standards and measures students’ problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and writing skills, which are abilities all students need to stay on track for college and career readiness after high school. 

As you review these reports, the school and district averages will look much different and may appear lower than what you typically expected on previous state assessments. It is important to remember that these score reports are not comparable to previous scores on the Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT). The PARCC exam uses higher expectations for what it means for students to truly master content and grade-level standards. The 2015 PARCC test scores provide a new baseline to measure student progress going forward. These results do not mean our students know less or are less capable or that our schools are failing. We have simply raised the bar for the type of skills and knowledge students must possess before moving onto the next grade level. 

As with any change, we anticipate some growing pains as students and teachers adjust to the new format of the PARCC exam and the higher expectations of the Illinois Learning Standards. We are confident that results will improve as they become more familiar with the test. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all students are prepared for success in college and beyond. The PARCC exam will be a valuable tool to make that goal a reality. No test provides a complete picture of student performance, and the PARCC exam results are simply one of many factors that we use to measure progress. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to your child’s academic growth and success.