In a quarterly meeting that took place late last week, the PARCC Assessment Consortium Governing Board has decided to eliminate the previously required "through-course" assessments. (States would have been required to administer two "through-course" assessments at different times during the year in addition to one end-of-year summative assessment.) The consortium had come under fire earlier this year by critics who feared that requiring "through-course" assessments was tantamount to prescribing a scope and sequence for all schools--traditional public and charter.

The through-course assessments have been replaced by two optional tests:

  1. An early assessment, that would be given early in the year and would be designed "to provide teachers with information that can serve as an early indicator of student status relative to the CCSS. It may be possible to design this component to also include information about whether students who did not achieve proficiency in their previous grade have made progress towards or have attained proficiency on those standards in their current year."
  2. A mid-year assessment that would include performance-based assessments that are designed to give "instructionally useful feedback to? teachers and students and help prepare them for the innovative assessment tasks" they will see on the required end of year assessment.

While both of these components are optional and the scores will not initially count towards a student's summative score, the consortium notes that "over time, states may consider including results of the mid-year assessments in summative scores."

The consortium will continue to require end-of-year assessments that include computer-based and innovative performance assessments in grades 3-8 and end-of-course assessments in high school ELA and math, but the 3-8 tests will now include an assessment of speaking/listening skills.

You can read more about the changes here.

--Kathleen Porter-Magee

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