Earlier today students received their 2015 PARCC assessment scores, which they’ll bring home to discuss with parents.

Because this is a new test and scores will look different than other standardized test results, we want to make sure that parents understand how to read them.

As a reminder, CPS students participated in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) in the spring of 2015. This assessment is aligned to the Common Core Standards, which Illinois adopted to help students develop the knowledge and strategies they need to be successful in a global, 21st-Century economy.

This new test allows us to measure things we never have before – like critical thinking and communication skills – and because of that, student scores may be lower than on past tests. This does not mean that your student suddenly knows less, but that we have a clearer picture of what to focus on to improve upon – and we are committed to doing just that.

Below are some online resources that can help you understand how your child’s performance on PARCC compares with students both in their class and around the country.

  • Understand the Score: http://understandthescore.org/. This site provides guidance on how to read the PARCC parent reports and what next steps to take based on how your student has done. It is available in English and Spanish.
  • Great Kids: http://www.greatschools.org/gk/test-guide/. This site provides guidance on the learning expectations at each grade level and includes videos that show the Common Core in action. It is also available in English and Spanish.
  • Be a Learning Hero Skill Builder: http://bealearninghero.org/skill-builder. This site provides links to online tools, games and skill practice for students.

These are great tools to help you understand PARCC, but remember that your best resource for all things academic is your child’s teachers. They are the experts on student learning, so ask them your questions and get their advice on how to support your child’s academic progress.

Finally, remember that PARCC is a new test for CPS and for the state of Illinois, so there is a lot we still need to learn. We believe it will support the work of our teachers as they help each student reach their full potential, but we also recognize that it is just one test, and that the results are only part of how we evaluate and support student learning in our schools.