In September of 2013, our district was informed that we had been selected by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to participate in the 2014 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Field Test. This assessment, which is still in the development stage, is being considered as a possible replacement for MCAS in the years to come. The purpose of the field test is to examine the quality of test items, try out administration procedures, and to give schools the opportunity to experience a PARCC administration.
Grades 3, 5, 7 and 8 have been selected to participate in this field test and only a portion of our students at each grade level will be participating in the assessment. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of the students in grades 3, 5 and 7 will be taking the math component of the PARCC, and approximately 40 to 50 percent of the students in grade 8 will be taking the English language arts component.
Because the grade levels selected to take the PARCC are normally expected to take MCAS, the state has given school districts the opportunity to decide for themselves whether they want to have their students participating in the PARCC field test to also participate in MCAS for this pilot year. After a good deal of discussion among our administrators, curriculum leaders and teachers, we have decided that students who are selected to participate in PARCC will not be taking the MCAS in those same curriculum areas. We believe that this decision is in the best interest of our students despite the fact that we will not receive individual or group results from the PARCC assessments. We strongly feel that by not taking both tests, we will avoid subjecting our students to over-testing or to the loss of additional instructional time.
Within the next month, we will share more specific information regarding the PARCC and MCAS administration schedule along with which test individual students will be taking.
Please feel free to contact administration at either school if you have any questions or concerns.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation and support.
JAMES F. O'SHEA, principal
The Bromfield School
Hildreth Elementary School