Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do schools administer these assessments?
A: Federal law, including the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) require that states administer an assessment to all eligible students in grades three through eight. Illinois chose to administer the PARCC Assessment since it is aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards Incorporating the Common Core.
Q: When can we expect to receive the score reports?
A: We anticipate the 2015 score reports to be released in late fall. The results from the first PARCC exam administration are taking additional time to produce because Illinois educators, along with their colleagues from other states, needed to review students' work to determine performance levels. In the future, it is anticipated that score reports will be released much earlier (prior to the end of the school year).
Q: What is a good score? Should we expect to see whether our students met or exceeded the State Standard?
A: Score reports show how students performed on each portion of the PARCC assessment as well as their overall score. The student test results mark a new baseline that enables all of us to know where students currently stand on their path to success in college and career.
- Students scoring a 4 or 5 have demonstrated that they have a thorough understanding of grade-level content and are on the right track to being ready for college-level coursework.
- Students receiving a 3 are approaching expectations, but may need additional assistance mastering content.
- Students receiving a 1 or 2 need more assistance in mastering the content and are in need of greater supports.
Q: Why do scores look different this year than in the past? Why can't we look at whether students are meeting or exceeding state standards?
A: The bar has been raised for students and the new tests are measuring more complex skills including critical thinking, persuasive writing, and problem solving. This is different than previous tests. A low score does not mean that your child did not improve or learned less. This first year’s scores set a new baseline from which progress will be measured moving forward.
Q: What do the score reports look like?
Math Parent Guide for Score Report ELA Parent Guide for Score Report
Q: Can we compare scores from this year's PARCC Assessments to the scores from the ISAT in the past?
A: No. It’s important to remember that the PARCC assessment is a completely different test than past years. The results represent a new baseline that teachers and parents can use to measure progress toward college and career readiness.
Q: How should we expect students to perform on the new assessment?
A: We expect that the percentage of students who show proficiency on the PARCC exam will likely be lower than the percentage of students who met and exceeded standards on the previous state assessments. Lower test scores do not necessarily mean that schools are performing worse or that students are learning less. Similarly, a drop in student proficiency scores does not necessarily reflect a drop in performance. It is rather a reflection of the higher standards Illinois adopted to ensure students achieve college and career readiness. As with any change, there is a period of transition as teachers and students get used to the new standards and tests. We fully expect results to improve as teachers and students become familiar with the higher standards.