Add Illinois to the list of states that have either ditched PARCC entirely or plan to use some hybrid of it.
The Chicago Tribune reported last week that the Illinois State Board of Education plans to modify the PARCC assessment for 3rd-8th graders on the heels of a recent standoff with Chicago Public Schools over the assessment, as well as, complaints from numerous school districts.
The Illinois State Board of Education plans to transform third- to eighth-grade state exams, the Tribune has learned, with a goal of shortening the tests, getting results more quickly and switching to a format that adjusts the difficulty of test questions as kids provide right or wrong answers.
“PARCC as we know it — it is obviously going to need to evolve,” said A. Rae Clementz, ISBE’s director of assessment and accountability.
PARCC, the acronym for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, had problems from the onset. School officials criticized the long hours of PARCC testing, and complaints from parents mushroomed into an opt-out movement that kept kids from getting tested. In 2015, Chicago Public Schools resisted PARCC testing and got into a standoff with the state, which threatened to yank hundreds of millions of dollars of funds from CPS. The district ultimately relented.
The state made changes to reduce time on testing and pulled PARCC from the roster of high school assessments following complaints from administrators who said the exams took away from instruction. Any PARCC changes will not affect high schools.
Meanwhile, scores on the third- to eighth-grade PARCC exams generally remained low statewide, with fewer than 40 percent of some 900,000 test-takers able to pass the reading and math exams in 2017.
PARCC’s membership has dwindled over the years to the District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico. When New Jersey officially leaves PARCC only five states and the District of Columbia will remain in a consortium that once boasted 25 states and DC. Illinois has not made any announcement about leaving the consortium, and if they are still using PARCC in its entirety for the 11th grade they probably won’t.
Colorado recently left PARCC, but do still purchase some PARCC test items. Louisiana and Massachusettes offer a hybrid assessment. So when Illinois makes it change it will leave two states and D.C who use it in its entirety.