November 27, 2015 Update
Following the decision of the Board of Education North Reading will be administering the PARCC assessment in the Spring of 2016 for grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics.
MCAS will still be used for grade 10 ELA and Mathematics as well as Science/Technology Engineering in grades 5, 8, and high school.
The MCAS Alt. and Access for ELL students assessments will also be used.
For the PARCC assessment some decisions remain to be made about the modality of the assessment (computer or paper) as well as more information about next generation MCAS 2.0 which will be administered in the Spring of 2017.
Letter from Commissioner Chester, October 20, 2015:
October 20, 2015
Dear Superintendents, Charter School Leaders, and Principals,
I am writing to update you on discussions I had with the Board of Elementary and Secondary
Education at its meetings on October 19-20. As you know, we have reached the end of our
two-year test drive of PARCC, and the Board is scheduled to vote on Nov. 17 on next steps for
statewide testing. While I have not yet made my recommendation to the Board, I want to
share with you what I have shared with the Board.
Until recently, I thought about this as a binary decision: whether to adopt PARCC or continue
with MCAS. On October 19, I told the Board there is a third option worth considering: using
the effort we've invested in PARCC to create MCAS 2.0. To this end, I shared three
considerations that are guiding my reasoning.
First, MCAS has served the Commonwealth well. I can’t imagine that the success of our
students and educators would have been possible without a high-quality assessment that
provided feedback on student, school, district, and state achievement and progress. Now that
we have the benefit of two decades of experience and have upgraded our curriculum
frameworks and content standards, it is time to upgrade our assessments.
Second, in important ways, PARCC sets a higher bar than MCAS for student performance. This
is particularly true as students move into middle and high school. This higher bar is not simply
about being harder. PARCC is designed to assess our updated understanding of learning
progressions in mathematics, text complexity and the interplay of reading and writing, research
skills, and the academic expectations of higher education and employers. Many Massachusetts
K-12 educators, higher education faculty, and DESE staff contributed to making PARCC a strong
In addition, the online assessment experience is qualitatively different than taking a paper-and-
pencil test. The online environment is more engaging (students prefer it by almost a two-to-
one margin); the introduction of video and audio increases accessibility for many students,
including English language learners and students with disabilities; and the online setting mirrors
the digital world that is ubiquitous in students’ lives and futures.
Third, while Massachusetts has exercised a leadership role among the consortium states, any
path forward that includes PARCC must be a path over which we have control. To be confident
that we exercise ultimate agency over the direction of the Commonwealth’s assessment
program, I am considering options for taking advantage of our access to PARCC to build MCAS
I will continue to develop these ideas in the coming weeks, and I look forward to sharing my
recommendation to the Board with you in early November.
On Nov. 16, the Board will hold its last public comment session on PARCC at Malden High
School, and the Board vote is scheduled for Nov. 17. If you are looking for more background on
PARCC in Massachusetts, please see www.doe.mass.edu/parcc.
Mitchell D. Chester
Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
In 2010, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted new academic learning standards in English language arts and mathematics to ensure that all students are on the pathway to college and career readiness. To measure progress against those learning standards, we are now developing a new student testing program. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers – or PARCC– is a state-led project to develop a next-generation, computer-based testing program aligned to our academic learning standards. PARCC will consist of rich, performance-based tasks that will provide you with a better measure of our children's ability to write, think critically, and apply what they know. PARCC will also provide clearer signals to educators and parents about students' readiness for the next grade level and, in high school, for college and careers.
In the spring of 2015 the North Reading Public Schools will be participating in the test drive for the ELA and Mathematics PARCC assessment at the Batchelder (computer-based), Hood and Little elementary (paper-based) schools. Students in grades 6-8 will also take the PARCC assessment in ELA and Mathematics. Students in Grade 9 Algebra will also take the PARCC assessment.
Students in grade 10 will still complete the MCAS in both ELA and Mathematics through the class of 2019. Students in grades 5,8, and those taking Biology will continue to take the MCAS Science exam.
Students participating this year will receive a score based in his or her performance. In the Fall of 2015 Massachusetts will decide whether PARCC or an updated MCAS will be as our new state assessment in the spring of 2015 and beyond.
contact me at any time email@example.com or 978-664-9557.
For more information regard PARCC please visit: www.parcconline.org
-- Patrick Daly
A message from Commissioner Chester.
Boston Globe Article on Possible Replacement of the MCAS
Parents and students can click on the links above to explore the PARCC assessment together!
Boston Globe Article on PARCC field Test