October 21, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians,
This week, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) will release school and district results of the new PARCC tests taken by students in grades three through eight last year. Below is an overview and what you can expect.
WHAT IS PARCC?
PARCC stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. It is a series of standardized tests that gauge a student’s grasp of knowledge of mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA). Previously, the state has used the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) as its primary testing tool and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) with a smaller group of students in some grades.
The PARCC tests administered last year are Louisiana’s first attempt to administer tests matching the new, more rigorous standards to provide a gauge for how well our students are learning compared to their peers in other states. This is a longstanding practice with the American College Testing (ACT), SAT, and Advanced Placement (AP) tests in high school.
State results released last week show general consistency on student performance as compared to previous LEAP and NAEP results with an expected slight drop in mathematics scores. (See chart below.)
WHEN WILL I KNOW MY CHILD’S PARCC TEST RESULTS AND HOW WILL THEY BE USED?
While school and district results will be released this week, individual student results will not be out until the week of November 9th. It is important to note PARCC results will not be used to determine your student’s progression to the next grade nor impact his or her grades. The scores and ratings will be used to help teachers identify when students need additional support or more challenging work in each subject area. The information will also be used to measure how well schools and districts are helping students achieve higher expectations. School and district letter grades will be released some time in December.
WHY ARE THE NEW CURRICULUM AND TESTS IMPORTANT?
It is expected that Louisiana will have an influx of 25,000 new jobs every year for the next decade. Many of those jobs will be in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, which will require a more complex grasp of mathematics. That is why teaching our students to compete in the 21st Century is so important.
In addition to instructional changes, Ascension Public Schools are actively seeking ways to engage your child in experiential, hands-on learning of these complex concepts. This is happening through programs like STEAM (STEM plus the Arts) Clubs, STEM Gems, robotics clubs, and enrichment programs. Our robust One-to-One Program augments these activities by infusing technology in the classrooms and at home.
All of these activities align with our mission of ensuring every child is successful in an ever-changing world and are among the reasons Ascension Public Schools has a reputation as a strong academic district. We welcome the opportunity for our students to compete not only with peers in other states but also across the world!
Patrice Pujol, Ed.D.
Ascension Public Schools