Dear Community Members,
As I am sure you are well aware, students in District 26 were recently administered a new assessment developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Because District 26 is so fortunate to have such dedicated parents, teachers, administrators, and school board members who help assemble the necessary tools students need to succeed, the District met its mandated testing requirements. Please remember that the PARCC test is designed to be taken online, and because we have the necessary technology and talented human resources in place, our District was better positioned than most other districts to meet this burdensome, yet important, assessment goal. I am happy to report that the first round of PARCC testing was very successful and parents can be proud to know that even though it was our first time with the new assessment, students were very well prepared.
I think that with any new assessment, it is imperative that parents understand the goals and focus of the test, as well as what our District can learn from analyzing the performance data. The PARCC assessment is one test with two parts. The part that our students just completed is known as the performance-based assessment (PBA). This test measures critical thinking, reasoning and application skills through “extended tasks” such as written answers or multi-step math problems. The end-of-year assessment (EOY) follows in late spring, consisting of short answer questions and questions that measure skills like reading comprehension, vocabulary and math proficiency. The PARCC assessment is designed to serve as an educational road map that can help identify where a student is excelling and where they may need extra help to get to where they need to. It is more engaging than traditional standardized tests. Instead of just testing memorization skills it measures skills that really matter: reasoning, critical thinking, problem solving, and writing.
Along with all the new substantive and procedural changes students are expected to know and perform, and the electronic format of the test that requires 21stcentury infrastructure and support, much criticism has come over the onerous amount of time and resources schools have needed to employ on this initiative without any additional state funding or consideration as to what’s best for children. While District 26 will always remain compliant with the law, we will continue to advocate that the State of Illinois review its assessment requirements and better assist school districts with meeting statutory obligations related to best practices in student assessment and in funding.
If you have any more questions or if I can be of particular assistance to you please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dane A. Delli, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools