Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PARCC Information for USD116 Families

Dear USD116 Families,

Starting on March 9, students in grades 3-8 and students in English Comp 9 and Algebra I will be taking the new state assessments known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).  The PARCC assessments replace the ISAT at grades 3-8 and the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) in high school.  This year, Urbana School District #116 will still be administering the ACT to 11th graders. 

The PARCC is designed to assess thinking skills, not just knowledge and reading comprehension. It is a much more powerful assessment than the ISAT ever was, and I am hopeful that the new assessment will be accompanied by useful reporting. 

If you would like more information about the PARCC and its implementation in Illinois, please visit the Illinois State Board of Education website:

This is the first year of a new assessment system.  There will be glitches and challenges, but please do not allow challenges to turn into anxiety for you or your family.  We, as a district, are more prepared than most, and we are more relaxed than most, because we were one of the districts who field tested PARCC during the 2013-2014 school year.  The PARCC is just one assessment that informs all of us about students’ academic growth and progress toward college and/or career readiness.  We do not allow one assessment to define our students, our teachers, or our schools.  We have full faith in our educators and families to work collaboratively and use data to set personally challenging goals for all students and then help our students meet those goals. 

I am hopeful that the PARCC will come close to living up to the high expectations we have for this new type of assessment, but if it doesn't we will cross that bridge calmly and collaboratively.