PARRC scores being released

December 10, 2015

2014-2015 PARCC scores for schools, districts, and the state will be available on the Illinois Report Card beginning Fri., Dec. 11. In addition, individual student's scores will be mailed to our families early next week, accompanied by this letter from the superintendent.

Dear OPRFHS  Parents and Guardians,

Last spring your child participated in the new state assessment, called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam, in English language arts and/or Algebra. At the high school level, the PARCC assessment replaces the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE) and marks a significant change from the PSAE. The PARCC test lines up with the updated Illinois Learning Standards and measures students’ problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and writing skills, which are abilities all students need to stay on track for college and career readiness after high school.

Enclosed you will find the PARCC score report(s) for your child’s test(s). The reports show how your child performed on each portion of the test. It also provides the overall score, which will fall within one of five performance levels:

  • Levels 1 or 2: Requires greater supports to understand content.

  • Level 3: Approaching expectations but may need additional assistance mastering content.

  • Levels 4 or 5: Shows a thorough understanding of grade-level content and is on track to be ready for college-level coursework.

The reports also allow you to see how your child is doing in comparison to averages for OPRF and the state.

As you review your child’s results, please keep in mind the following:

  • Your child’s scores may appear lower than what you expect. This does not mean your child knows less or is less capable. The PARCC exam uses higher expectations for what it means for students to truly master content and grade-level standards.

  • PARCC exam results cannot be compared to scores from previous state assessments. Your child’s scores, as well as the school averages, will look much different from scores for previous tests. PARCC is a different type of test, because more complex skills are being assessed. Rather than reciting facts and filling in bubbles for the correct answer, the PARCC exam asks students to demonstrate and apply their knowledge and skills.

  • The 2015 PARCC test scores provide a new baseline to measure student progress in the future. These results do not mean students, or schools, are failing. The state has simply raised the bar for the type of skills and knowledge students must possess to master content and grade-level standards.

As you review the overall scores for the school and state, several points are worth remembering:

  • PARCC tests at the high school level are course-based, rather than strictly grade-level based. Whereas the English Language Arts 9 assessment was given to all freshmen, the Algebra I assessment was given to the students enrolled in Algebra 1-2. Thus, our overall ELA scores represent approximately 820 freshmen, while our Algebra scores represent approximately 480 students, about 90% of whom are freshmen. Freshmen enrolled in Pre-Algebra, Geometry, Advanced Algebra, and other courses were not required to take PARCC mathematics tests.

  • PARCC scores show we have opportunities for improvement. However, we need time to thoroughly explore the data and understand its implications. As with any change, we anticipate some growing pains as students and teachers adjust to the new format of the PARCC exam and the higher expectations of the Illinois Learning Standards.

  • We will continue our efforts to collaborate with the middle school districts to ensure articulation between curricula. For instance, all three districts’ math faculty are working together to create a common algebra curriculum, as well as unit tests that are aligned in content and rigor.

  • No test provides a complete picture of student performance, and the PARCC exam results are simply one of many factors that we use to measure progress. Our ACT results, for instance, are above state averages and indicate that, overall, our students are prepared for college.

We are confident that PARCC results will improve as we all become more familiar with the test. We will work hard to keep you informed about our progress as a district. Teachers are the experts about what is happening in their classrooms and are an invaluable resource for parents. I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher(s) with any questions you may have about your child’s academic progress.

For more information about the PARCC exam and the latest updates on statewide assessments, please click here. And please feel free to contact Amy Hill, Director of Assessment and Research, at 708.434.3373 with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to your child’s academic growth and success. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Steven T. Isoye
Superintendent