PARCC Testing Description

  •  PARCC, THE STATE-MANDATED HIGH SCHOOL ASSESSMENT for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 only


    Public schools in Illinois are required to assess students for the purpose of educational accountability as mandated by the Illinois State Board of Education. During the 2014-15 school year, Illinois administered the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests for the first time. The new assessments were created to replace the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) given to students in grades 3-8 and the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) given to students in grade 11. The PARCC assessments are designed to measure student proficiency against the new, more rigorous learning standards for English language arts and mathematics, which were adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education in 2010. District 86 was well prepared for these testing events. 


    In the spring of 2015, students enrolled in high school courses that taught Algebra I and English Language Arts I (ELA) concepts were assessed on their mastery of the Common Core State Standards, which are embedded in the New Illinois Learning Standards. Students, mostly freshmen, who were enrolled in the related Algebra I and English I courses, took both Performance-Based Assessments (PBA) in March as well as the End-of-Year (EOY) Assessments in May. The state mandated that districts to give the PBA assessments after 75 percent of the school year was completed and the EOY assessments after students had completed 90 percent of the school year. In ELA, students experienced 5.75 hours in the testing environment as they took three PBA unit tests and two EOY unit tests. For Algebra I, students experienced 5.3 hours in the testing environment for two unit tests for both the PBA and the EOY assessments.


    The ISBE has introduced a new website called "PARCC Place." It is "dedicated solely to the PARCC exam and how it will help support student learning."  A link to the site is included on this page. 


    In the Summer of 2016, ISBE announced that the PARCC test would no longer be administered to high school students.  



    According to ISBE, PARCC differs from the former assessment systems in the following ways:

    • The PARCC system aligns college and career readiness expectations from kindergarten through grade 12 for the first time in Illinois. (Our previous state tests did not and there was a longstanding disconnect in statewide results, with generally higher scores on the ISAT than the PSAE.)

    • The assessments measure whether or not students have the academic knowledge and skills necessary to succeed after high school. The information can be used to address issues early on, reducing the percentage of students who have to take costly and time-consuming remedial classes in college.

    • Students must analyze information and explain their answers.

    • The PARCC assessment takes advantage of technology to include questions and other tasks that correspond to the type of work that students will encounter in their classrooms on a regular basis and after high school. These assessments help to encourage schools to use technology as a day-to-day tool to enhance learning.

    • At the high school level, these are “end of course” tests versus grade level tests.



    The English Language Arts (ELA) I PARCC assessments will measure student proficiency in these areas:

    • Reading and analyzing complex text;

    • Drawing local inferences from multiple sources, including non-fiction, fiction, charts, tables, and pictures;

    • Citing specific textual evidence when drawing conclusions; and

    • Producing clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience.


    The Algebra I PARCC assessments will measure student proficiency in these areas:

    • Solving the major content and additional and supporting content of Algebra I;

    • Expressing course-level appropriate mathematical reasoning by constructing viable arguments, critiquing the reasoning of others and attending to precision when making mathematical statements;

    • Solving real-world problems with a degree of difficulty appropriate to the course, engaging in the modeling process, and where helpful making sense of problems and persevering to solve them;

    • Reasoning abstractly and quantitatively; and

    • Using appropriate tools strategically.