Rockford Public Schools and the Illinois State Board of Education released results today from The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, the new standardized test given statewide.
The PARCC replaced the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) for third through eighth graders and the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) for high school students. The PARCC is a more accurate tool to measure critical thinking, analytical writing, and problem solving – skills aligned with college and career readiness. This baseline data will help districts, including RPS 205, improve instruction, strategically support teachers and assess school performance beyond the state.
Results from the 2015 test provide baseline data and cannot be compared to previous standardized exams. District administrators celebrated growth or stability in math on the 2014 test: 73 percent of schools tested showed positive growth or stability in math. This year (2015), district officials are unable to measure growth or identify trends because the test – and its measurements and results – are different. Results from the 2015 PARCC exam cannot be compared to prior exams.
According to the new English/language arts standards:
- RPS 205: 28 percent of elementary and middle school students tested met or exceeded standards.
- Preliminary state data: 36 percent of elementary and middle school students tested met or exceeded standards.
According to the new math standards:
- RPS 205: 17 percent of elementary and middle school students tested met or exceeded standards
- Preliminary state data: 29 percent of elementary and middle school students tested met or exceeded standards.
Administrators are sending home individual student assessment reports this week. Parents will see a breakdown of their child’s results that show whether he or she met grade-level expectations and whether he or she is on track for the next grade level. They’ll also see how their child’s performance compares to peers across Illinois and other PARCC states.
The test is just one measure of how well a student performs academically. Grades, teacher feedback and scores from other tests form a more complete picture of student achievement.
On the ISAT and PSAE – the tests given in prior years – proficiency was measured on four levels. Two were considered proficient and two were not. Under PARCC, there are five levels with only the top two counting as meeting all standards. See sample assessment report.
Student achievement is now based on a five-level scale:
- Level 1: Did not yet meet expectations
- Level 2: Partially met expectations
- Level 3: Approached expectations
- Level 4: Met expectations
- Level 5: Exceeded expectations
Students in Level 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. In RPS 205, 17 percent of students tested in math are in Level 4 or 5; 28 percent of students tested in English/language arts are in Level 4 or 5 (see charts below). 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.
Below is a breakdown of RPS 205 students at each level who were tested on the PARCC:
PARCC standards are internationally benchmarked. Previous tests were benchmarked against state standards, and this change has created a perception of lower test scores. In reality, the results are different. Internationally, only 5 percent of students “exceed standards.” In the United States, only 2 percent of students will reach that level. It’s the equivalent of earning a 33 (of a perfect 36) on the ACT.
“This is a learning year. This new assessment reflects not only higher standards, but different standards,” said Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. “This gives state and district leaders a starting point. We’re committed to improving our results and providing the best education for our students.”