Understanding Your Child’s PARCC Score Report

Illinois will be releasing the final results of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment shortly. As part of this release, families will be receiving a report on their student’s individual results. There has been a long delay in releasing results this year due to the need to determine what the threshold levels are for the five categories for both English/Language Arts and Math for grades three through eight and for the high school assessments. Now that those threshold levels have been set, results from the PARCC will be available much more quickly in the future, especially for those students taking the PARCC online.

When you receive your child’s PARCC score report, it is essential to remember several important points. PARCC is a new assessment that is aligned to the higher and more challenging New Illinois Learning Standards. It is very different from the ISAT and PSAE exams that your child might have taken in the past, and the results from the ISAT/PSAE are not comparable to the results from PARCC.

Students are no longer just picking from a list of answers for solving an equation like they did with ISAT/PSAE but are being asked to use critical thinking and problem solving to derive equations from word problems, to use that equation to answer questions, and to show and explain their thinking on PARCC. They are being asked to make arguments and to support those arguments with examples from texts they read, not just answer questions about a story.

The PARCC score report you receive for your child is unlike from the one you may have received with ISAT/PSAE. Like the ISAT/PSAE report, the PARCC report provides you with your child’s overall score in English/Language Arts and Math and provides some comparison with scores for your child’s school, district, and state average scores. Where the PARCC report is different is in the score breakdown that it provides.

For English/Language Arts, your child’s score is broken down into reading and writing, and both of those categories are broken down into finer detail to show where your child performed in each of those areas relative to the New Illinois Learning Standards. Math scores are broken down into detailed areas with performance compared to the standards as well.

This detailed information will help you have a conversation with your child’s teacher about what material your child has already mastered and where they need additional support. With the help of your child’s teacher, you can identify what specific standards and topics your child needs to work on. Using resources from websites such as BeALearningHero.org, the Khan Academy Common Core video series, the Great Schools Milestones videos, NBC’s Education Nation academic guides, and the Howard County (MD) Public School System’s Family Mathematics Support Center (since both Illinois and Maryland have adopted the Common Core State Standards, the site works for Illinois students as well as those in Maryland), you can find additional information and activities to help your child on the specific areas that they are struggling with.

You can find out more about the PARCC score report at UnderstandTheScore.org. In addition, Illinois PTA will be providing two webinars, The New Illinois Learning Standards—What Parents Need to Know on Wednesday, December 9th from 12pm to 1pm and on Tuesday, December 15th from 7pm to 8pm. The webinar will cover why Illinois has updated its learning standards, how assessment has changed with PARCC, what the score reports parents receive will look like, and what resources are available for parents to support their children at home. There will also be time for parents to get their questions regarding standards and assessments answered.

The webinars can be attended in a browser on a computer or via the GoToMeeting app on a phone or tablet. To register, contact Illinois PTA President-Elect Brian Minsker with your name, PTA, city, and which webinar you would like to attend.