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State Education Officials: PARCC Exam Getting Two-Year 'Test Drive'

Herald News (Massachusetts) (11/28/13) Gagne, Michael

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted in favor of field testing the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in the current school year and then pilot testing PARCC in the 2014-15 school year. State Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester said the two-year transition will provide for a "robust comparison" of the PARCC with the current Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), and then in fall 2015, the department will assess whether to end MCAS. In his weekly "Commissioner's Report," he noted that the additional year for PARCC "reflects direct feedback I have heard from superintendents, principals, teachers, and school committee members about the importance of pacing ourselves so schools can implement PARCC and other reform initiatives in a thoughtful manner." The PARCC test includes "more open-ended, performance-based tasks to better measure students' ability to think critically and to apply what they know, as well as the use of innovative technology-based items," compared to MCAS. Chester said, "[PARCC] promises to provide clearer signals to educators and students about the readiness of students for the next grade level and, in high school, for college and career."
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