, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 28, 2013

Move over, MCAS: Schools will try out new performance test

NEWBURYPORT — The city’s public schools could be under a different system of performance testing by next academic year.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a consortium of 20 states, including Massachusetts, working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English language arts and math, which are anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers.

The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-2015 school year. School districts in Massachusetts will have the choice to decide if they want to use the tests at that time, and the state will then decide whether to adopt the PARCC system permanently, beginning in the 2015-2016 year.

According to the PARCC website, “the new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from third grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support.”

Last week, the School Committee heard from Assistant Superintendent Angela Bik and faculty members Liz Kinzly and Emily Russin, who presented information on this year’s Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test results for grades 3 to 10 in English language arts (ELA), mathematics and science. Also discussed was a list of actions for the different grade levels with ways to continue to improve student performance in the three major disciplines.

MCAS testing will continue to function as the standard measure for performance and learning this year, but PARCC testing is slated to get a trial run in the district this spring.

Bik said PARCC’s Performance-Based-Assessment (PBA) and End-of-Year (EOY) online field tests for ELA and math will be conducted this year. The PBA tests are to be administered from March 24 to April 11 and the EOY exams are scheduled for May 5 to June 6.

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