Wednesday, September 16, 2015

First Illinois PARCC results released

The Illinois State Board of Education has released preliminary data from the first implementation of PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing. As expected, the results show that collectively, Illinois students were challenged by the tougher PARCC standards.

The preliminary data is state-level only – not district, school or student-level. The one-page of results reflects only students who took the assessment online.

With the results, the state board also approved of and released the five-point performance-level settings recommended by the PARCC consortium of participating states:

  • 5 - Students Exceeded Expectations
  • 4 - Students Met Expectations
  • 3 - Students Approached Expectations
  • 2 - Students Partially Met Expectations
  • 1 - Students Did Not Meet Expectations

“This is a new baseline,” said Illinois Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, cautioning against comparing PARCC test results to previous tests, such as the ISAT.

“Assessment can be one valuable tool, along with other measures of student performance, when used properly to improve instruction and increase student achievement,” said Roger Eddy, executive director of IASB. “We must use these results as a baseline from which to improve. We also need to consider a more balanced approach to measuring student achievement that takes into account the whole child.”

Illinois’ preliminary PARCC results show that for English Language Arts/Literacy, approximately one-third of Illinois students in each grade exceeded or met expectations. Depending on the grade, 21 to 33 percent of students approached expectations. The percentages of students partially or not meeting expectations – considered underprepared for their next steps in college and career readiness – ranged from 33 percent of fourth graders to 43 percent of the youngest students (third graders) and the oldest (high school students).

In mathematics, 36 percent of third-graders met or exceeded expectations. Only 17 percent of high school students did. Between 22 and 34 percent of students approached expectations in math, depending on the grade. Of high school students, 59 percent partially met or did not meet math expectations.

Earlier in the week, Smith warned school districts that the results would show poor performance if compared to previous assessments. He said to not “shame teachers or schools” for the results. In a meeting with media members on Tuesday, he urged “building assessment literacy” to understand not only the data but also the purpose of the assessment.

“These scores are preliminary,” Smith said. “The data will reflect where we are now and what we need to do in the future.”

ISBE also established a new website, PARCC Place, to share information about PARCC with Illinois stakeholders.