Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions: PARCC for Families

What is PARCC?

PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. A group of states brought educators and others together to develop tests aligned to the new, higher standards that guide classroom instruction everyday. The states and educators developed new tests with the goal of providing a deeper level of information to teachers and parents to better support student learning.

What do the test scores mean for my child?

Just like the old HSPA exam, PARCC is an opportunity for your child to show what he or she knows. Your child’s teacher will use this information to adjust their lessons and help your child grow and continue to develop.

Middle school, high school, and college programs may request these scores.

Will PARCC results be used as the sole criteria for my child’s class promotion or placement?

State tests are one of several ways to tell how well students are progressing toward meeting new standards. The results do not determine grade promotion or report card grades. PARCC results, along with student performance on class assignments like classwork, homework, and tests, combine to give parents and teachers a complete picture of a child’s academic progress.

How will PARCC affect teachers? Schools?

Teachers need to understand how well students are mastering skills and where there are gaps, so the tests can help inform instruction.

State law requires a small portion (10 percent) of annual evaluations for math and English language arts teachers be based on growth on student assessments. In other words, for a small number (15 percent) of New Jersey’s teachers, PARCC will have a small impact on their overall evaluation.

At a school level, students’ progress on PARCC is one of many factors included in School Information Cards.

What has been done to reduce testing time and administrative burdens on PARCC?

For the 2015-16, New Jersey is reducing the amount of time students will take PARCC tests. There is one fewer testing window, and students will take tests for 90 fewer minutes. Overall, PARCC is administered in chunks that make up less than two hours a day.

It is also expected that prep time will decrease as schools become familiar with the testing format and technology.

How can parents learn more?

PARCC offers information about the assessments including fact sheets, a glossary and sample test questions. http://parcconline.org/for-parents

National Parent Teacher Association offers grade-by-grade parent guides for student success. Available in English and Spanish. www.pta.org/parents/content.cfm?ItemNumber=2583

Milestones is a free online collection of videos that help parents understand grade-level expectations in grades K-5. http://www.greatschools.org/gk/milestones/

Raise the Bar offers free parent resources to help children succeed in school http://raisethebarparents.org/raise-the-bar-for-your-child

Be a Learning Hero helps parents make action plans based on their child’s PARCC score report http://bealearninghero.org

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