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Understanding PARCC Results

Understanding PARCC Results


Dear Families,

This is the first year you are receiving information regarding a new test your child participated in last spring called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. This test replaces two tests previously taken by students: the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) at the elementary and middle levels, and the Prairie State Achievement Test (PSAE) at the high school level. Like ISAT and PSAE, the PARCC test is required by the state. The state’s goal for the test is to serve both families and the school in measuring a child’s current performance against high expectations and creating real-world, engaging and challenging tasks. The state believes this test will guide what students will need to learn to be ready for the next grade level, graduation, and for college or a career.

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Both the ISAT and PSAE tests were aligned to previous state standards. The new test is aligned to the New Illinois Learning Standards, which focus on critical thinking and real world application. Proficiency rates, or the number of students meeting or exceeding on ISAT and PSAE, fell within the 55 percent to 80 percent range. On the new test, the scores fell within the 20 percent to 40 percent range of students meeting or exceeding. This was not unexpected. The new tests were presented as being dramatically more difficult and the state anticipated passing rates would be much lower than before. The test delivered on that expectation.

It is important to keep in mind that these new, more challenging tests focus heavily on critical thinking and problem-solving, different from the previous tests which focused on levels of recall and basic understanding. This was also the first time many students took a computer-based test. This information is the beginning of a new baseline which schools and districts will use to assist students in achieving higher levels in critical thinking. Quite simply, decreases in percentages of students meeting/exceeding cannot be attributed to considerably lower performance; rather, they are the result of higher expectations. As a district, we have embraced these higher expectations and are working hard to broaden student learning and growth.

Overall, the results reveal some bright spots. However, they also reveal that we must continue our work to best prepare all of our students to be ready for college and careers. I remain confident our schools are focused on the work to make this happen. Our emphasis and priorities continue to center on teaching all students high standards, advancing instructional practices, and tailoring instruction to meet the needs of every student.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership in your child’s education. We are strongly committed to continuous improvement to successfully prepare our students for the workforce or extending their education. For additional information, please visit www.mattoon.k12.il.us select “District” and “Curriculum” to view PARCC: Understanding the Results. If you have specific questions about your child’s report or academic progress, please feel free to contact your child’s school.


Tim Condron

Curriculum Director

If your son or daughter took the new state assessment last school year, you will soon find a report arriving in the mail demonstrating how your child scored. Mattoon High School math teacher Marti Shirley was selected to participate in grading the initial PARCC math tests.  She is featured in this video explaining how schools can use information from the tests to further help students learn and grow. Click on Marti Shirley to watch the video.
Marti Shirley

See more from Ms. Shirley at: Marti Shirley


PARCC Score Report Video and Information

(Click on links to view videos)



Understanding Your Child’s Score: http://understandthescore.org/

Performance Level Descriptors: A more in-depth explanation of student scores and the various performance levels

(Click on grade levels to view reports)

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

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Mattoon Community Unit School District 21701 Charleston AvenueMattoon, IL  61938

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