PARCC Governing Board Approves Math Assessments for College and Career Readiness, Retest Policy and Tech Specs

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, January 7, 2013

The Governing Board of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) held a meeting on December 13, 2012, which included a joint session with the PARCC Advisory Committee on College Readiness (ACCR). The board meets quarterly to make major policy and operational decisions on behalf of the PARCC consortium related to the overall design of the assessment system, PARCC's procurement strategy, and other significant issues.

The PARCC consortium is made up of 22 states and the District of Columbia. Nineteen of those states have committed to participate only in PARCC and administer the assessments in the 2014-2015 school year. The K-12 chief state school officers from those 19 states serve on the Governing Board. The December 13 meeting included an open, public session and an executive session.

In the joint session, the Governing Board and ACCR agreed on a policy that establishes which PARCC high school mathematics assessments should be used to make college- and career-ready determinations (CCRD) for students, indicating the extent to which they are ready to enter directly into a credit bearing college math course such as College Algebra or Statistics.

The PARCC high school assessments will include course-based tests in Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, as well as equivalent integrated courses Mathematics 1, 2, and 3. For the first three years of PARCC, the CCRD in math will be based on an "enhanced" version of the final mathematics assessment (Algebra II or Mathematics 3) that include two additional performance based tasks that draw on students' knowledge of key concepts and skills from earlier high school mathematics courses. College mathematics faculty consider this foundational knowledge to be a key component of success in credit bearing courses. After one cohort of students has taken all three end-of-course assessments, PARCC will evaluate the data to determine whether incorporating results from the first two mathematics end-of-course assessments (Algebra I and Geometry, or Mathematics 1 and 2) will add validity to the CCRD, in which case they will be included in a manner to be determined. The K-12 and postsecondary leaders from the PARCC Governing Board and ACCR reached a unanimous conclusion. 

There were a number of other issues before the Governing Board, which included:

- Approving PARCC's creation of retest opportunities for grades 3-8 and high school. PARCC will first allow retest opportunities in the summer of 2015. PARCC will be able to offer retests once per year for grades 3-8 ELA/literacy and mathematics and three times per year for each high school end-of-course assessment. PARCC will make these retests available, but states will set their own policies on whether and how often to offer retests;

- Approving the release of draft accommodations policies for public comment in early January 2013;

- Approving the design for PARCC's diagnostic assessments;

- Approving PARCC's minimum technology specifications on the hardware components needed to administer the PARCC assessments online, as well as recommended guidance to schools and districts for bandwidth needs and "rule of thumb" guidance regarding test-taker to device ratios. The specifications are posted at; and ,

- Executive session discussions around project management, risk mitigation, and procurement, as well as policy issues around technology and assessment design.

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