How Can Higher Education Impact the Development and Implementation of the PARCC Assessment?


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Presented by Allison Jones, Vice President for Postsecondary Collaboration for Achieve, at the PARCC Massachusetts Launch Conference for Public Higher Education on October 28, 2011, in Leominster, MA. More information about PARCC available at and

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  • AchieveCreated in 1996 by the nation's governors and corporate leaders, Achieve is an independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C. that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments and strengthen accountability.
  • TALKING POINTS:45 States and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State StandardsMost states are committed to implementing the standards by the 2014-2015 school year
  • TALKING POINTSMATHEMATICSFocus, coherence and clarityFocus on key topics at each grade levelCoherent progressions across grade levelsAddresses long-heard criticism of mile-wide, inch-deep math curriculaProcedural fluency and understanding of concepts and skillsContent standards require both conceptual understanding and procedural fluencyMathematical proficienciesMathematical proficiencies students should develop (e.g., abstract reasoning, modeling,precision, perseverance, strategic use of tools, making arguments)Using mathematics to understand a problem – even in new or unfamiliar contextsOrganized around conceptual categoriesPromotes various approaches to high school curriculumStandards are organized into conceptual categories and models of traditional, integrated, & advanced coursesELA/LITERACYReadingBalance of literature and informational textsFocus on text complexity and what students readWritingEmphasis on argument and informative/explanatory writingWriting about sources (evidence) – answer questions that require students to have readthe textSpeaking and ListeningInclusion of formal and informal talkLiteracy standards for history, science and technical subjectsPromotes the idea that teaching literacy skills is not just the job of the English teacherComplements rather than replaces those subjectsBOTH CONTENT AREASAnchored in college and career readinessExplicitly define the knowledge and skills that students must master to be college and career ready by the end of high school, and the knowledge and skills in each grade that build towards that goal
  • THIS SLIDE IS NOW PARED DOWN AND emphasizes the mathematics to give it parity to both sets of standards. Application of skills and knowledge and perseverance are the two focal points here!!
  • TALKING POINTSPARCC is an alliance of 24 states, educating nearly 25 million students, that are working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. PARCC is led by 17 governing board states (and D.C.) represented in Dark Blue. CLICK: The chair of the governing board is Mitchell Chester, Education Commissioner of Massachusetts, and the state of Florida is serving as its fiscal agent. CLICK: Achieve is the project manager for PARCC, essentially serving as the staff for the consortium and coordinating the work. Collectively the PARCC states educate nearly 25 million students.Governing States will pilot and field test the assessment system components over the next three years and administer the new assessment system during the 2014-15 school year. Governing States will use the results from the PARCC assessments in their state accountability systemsThe chief state school officers of the Governing States serve on the PARCC Governing Board and make decisions on behalf of the Partnership on major policies and operational procedures Participating States (light blue) provide staff to serve on PARCC’s design committees, working groups, and other task forces established by the Governing Board to conduct the work necessary to design and develop PARCC’s proposed assessment system.By 2014–15, any state that remains in PARCC must commit to statewide implementation and administration of the Partnership’s assessment system Any PARCC Participating State prepared to make the commitments and take on the responsibilities of a Governing State can become oneNOTESGoverning Board: Comprised of K-12 chiefs from Governing Board StatesTechnical Advisory Committee: Comprised of state/national assessment expertsLeadership Team: Comprised of delegates of K-12 chiefs from Governing Board States (e.g., Assoc. Supt for Curriculum, Assessment and/or Instruction)ACCR: Comprised of national and state postsecondary leadersOperational Working Groups: Comprised of national, state, and local experts and leaders in their specific areas of expertise
  • Create high-quality assessments that measure the full range of the CCSS AND the full range of student achievement, including the achievement of high and low performing students.
  • TALKING POINTSGraphic depiction of the assessment system.The PARCC assessment system will:Better reflect the sophisticated knowledge and skills found in the English and math Common Core State StandardsInclude a mix of item types (e.g., short answer, richer multiple choice, longer open response, performance-based)Make significant use of technologyInclude testing at key points throughout the year to give teachers, parents and students better information about whether students are on track or need additional support in particular areas
  • For those that have been following the development of PARCC, the Governing Board did make some refinements to the design based on the input from the PARCC states.As with PARCC’s initial design, there will be four components to the PARCC system. PARCC will develop all four components – the first two will be available for all PARCC states and districts to use and administer flexibly.Summative assessment components will:Measure the full range of the CCSS and the full range of student performance, including low- and high-performing studentsInclude achievement levels that signify whether students are “college- and career-ready” by the end of high school and on-track in earlier gradesProduce data that can be used to make a variety of accountability determinations, including measures of student growthThe formative components will be designed to generate timely information during the academic year that can inform instruction, professional development, and supports and interventions for students.In ELA/literacy, there will be an additional formative component that will assess the speaking and listening standards in the Common Core.
  • Overview of two summative assessment components:Performance-Based Assessment:Administered as close to the end of the year as possibleWill include essays and other high-quality, complex items.End-of-Year:Computer-scored, but would be far from the traditional “multiple choice” tests. There will be multistep problems and tasks that students must complete in order to find the correct answer. Overview of formative components:Early Assessments: Designed to be administered close to the beginning of the year. Will provide an early snapshot of achievement knowledge and skills so that educators can tailor instruction, supports for students, and professional development to meet students’ needs.Mid-Year Assessment:Designed to be administered near the middle of the school year.Performance-basedWill focus on hard-to-measure standards in the CCSSTeachers could score this assessment to get quick feedback on student learning relative to the CCSS.These components are:are formative assessments are developed by PARCC with its grant funds are available to all PARCC states and their local districts are intended to be administered early and midway through the school year however, allow for flexible administration-- they can be administered at locally determined times, including at the discretion of the classroom teacher can be scored quickly -- some can be computer administered and scored, others can be scored by the classroom teacher -- so that teachers can have timely information that can inform instruction for their students
  • The PARCC assessment system will be aligned to the college- and career-ready, Common Core State Standards, and is being designed to challenge students, help identify when they’re not meeting the standards, and provide targeted instruction, supports and interventions to help them succeedStudents who score proficient on the assessments will know they are on track for the next steps in their education, creating a more meaningful targetIn high school, results will send an early signal about whether students are ready for entry-level, non-remedial courses at higher education institutions in all 25 PARCC statesStudents who are identified as not being on track, or who do not meet the college readiness score, will receive targeted supports and interventionsHigher education partners in PARCC—more than 200 institutions and systems covering nearly 1,000 campuses across the country—have committed to help develop the high school assessments and set the college-ready cut score that will be used to place incoming freshman in credit-bearing college courses
  • Although this is a K-12 assessment, higher education is viewed as a critical partner in the development and implementation process.
  • PARCC States use a variety of placement tests to formulate their benchmarks – ACT, SAT, ACCUPLACER, COMPASS, High School GPAs, and institution/system developed tests, e.g., University System of Maryland for mathematicsMost PARCC states meet and require minimum benchmarks for college-readiness But, College Ready (remediation) scores vary –By statesBy higher education systems within a stateBy college/universities within a systemNo single definition of college readiness/remediationResult: the definition of “first-year, credit-bearing course” varies from state-to-state:Especially within mathematics coursesMost PARCC states use college algebra as an entry-level courseSome individual state institutions and systems offer intermediate algebra as an option
  • The ACCR will:Will work with PARCC Governing Board to shape the consortium’s strategy for working with higher education systems, institutions, and K-12 to ensure development of college readiness assessments;Will guide the overall vision for higher education’s role in the consortium and serve as a voice representing the postsecondary education in PARCC; andWill develop a strategy for advocating for a common college ready standard and its use as a valid indicator of college readiness for first-year, credit-bearing courses by all colleges and universities across PARCC consortium states.Membership will be nationally recognized and respected leaders in higher education, e.g., higher education system leaders, chancellors/presidents, of 2- and 4-year colleges and universities, and representatives of national higher education organizations.The Higher Education Leadership Team Will:Guide the “on the ground” higher education engagement work in the states;Act as advisors to their respective ACCR members;Help shape the Achieve higher education engagement strategy through regular working groups, phone calls, meetings, and other feedback loops.
  • Faculty from Arizona were also active participants in the feedback periods of the Content Frameworks for both mathematics and ELA that will be the basis for the development of the PARCC assessments.More opportunities include:Content and Technical Working GroupsEnglish/ Language Arts and LiteracyMathematicsTest developmentTest specificationsAssessment item review
  • Higher Education will only accept PARCC College Readiness assessment if there is confidence in how the college readiness cut score is setDetermined after 2014-15 when K-12 assessment is administeredBased upon researchExternal validation (e.g., administer assessment to Freshmen students)
  • To set college-ready performance standards on the high school assessments, PARCC will used evidence from research such as:Concurrent validity studies that compare performance on PARCC assessments with SAT, ACT, Compass, Accuplacer and other similar assessments.Predictive validity studies that document the relationship between performance on PARCC assessments and subsequent performance in first year courses.Judgment studies by postsecondary faculty rating the importance of specific standards and test items for success in first year courses they teach.Alignment studies that examine the relationship between content and student work in first year courses and what PARCC assessments measure.
  • How Can Higher Education Impact the Development and Implementation of the PARCC Assessment?

    1. 1. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Massachusetts Governing State Visit October 28, 2011 Leominster, MA Allison Jones Vice President, Postsecondary Collaboration Achieve Washington, DC1
    2. 2. President Obama: Reforming Education “There is no better economic policy than one that produces more graduates. That’s why reforming education is the responsibility of every American – every parent, every teacher, every business leader, every public official, and every student.” – President Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery at TechBoston Academy in March.2
    3. 3. Overview• There is a national commitment to improve the educational outcomes for children in America – Increase the number of students that are prepared for success in college and careers – Strengthen the nation’s ability to compete in a global economy• To support these goals, states are working individually and collectively to improve its academic standards and assessments• Higher Education’s role in this educational reform movement is critical – Help to determine what students need to know to be prepared academically for college – Assist our K-12 partners align their curriculum standards with higher education expectations3
    4. 4. The Common Core State Standards4
    5. 5. Common Core Initiative Mission The Common Core State Standards – • Provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. • Designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. • With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy. Source: The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the5 Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
    6. 6. 45 States + DC Have Adopted the Common Core State Standards*Minnesota adopted the CCSS in ELA/literacy only
    7. 7. Key Advances of the Common Core MATHEMATICS ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS/LITERACYFocus, coherence and clarity: emphasis on Balance of literature and informational key topics at each grade level and texts; focus on text complexity coherent progression across gradesProcedural fluency and understanding of Emphasis on argument, informative/ concepts and skills explanatory writing, and research Promote rigor through mathematical proficiencies that foster reasoning and Speaking and listening skills understanding across disciplineHigh school standards organized by conceptual Literacy standards for history, science and categories technical subjects ANCHORED IN COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS
    8. 8. Important to Higher Education Faculty: Application of College-Ready Standards • Colleges and universities want students to… – Conduct research and apply that research to solve problems or address a particular issue – Identify areas for research, narrow those topics and adjust research methodology as necessary, and evaluate and synthesize primary and secondary resources as they develop and defend their own conclusions – Apply skills and knowledge across the content areas to solve real-world problems • Standards ask students to… – Conduct short, focused projects and longer term in-depth research – Gather relevant, credible information from multiple print and digital sources – Produce clear and coherent writing whatever the selected format – Communicate research findings (speaking and listening skills) and mathematical thinking – Model quantitative problems with mathematics – Persevere in solving problems – Make arguments and critique arguments of others8
    9. 9. About PARCC
    10. 10. Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)10
    11. 11. PARCC 17 Governing Board States• Arizona Role of Governing Board States• Arkansas• District of Columbia• Florida (Fiscal Agent) • Governing States will pilot and field test the assessment• Georgia system components during the 2011–12, 2012–13 and• Illinois 2013–14 school years, and administer the new• Indiana assessment system during the 2014-15 school year• Louisiana• Maryland • Governing States will use the results from the PARCC• Massachusetts (Board Chair) assessments in their state accountability systems• Mississippi • The chief state school officers of the Governing States• New Jersey serve on the PARCC Governing Board and make• New Mexico• New York decisions on behalf of the Partnership on major policies• Oklahoma and operational procedures• Rhode Island•11 Tennessee
    12. 12. PARCC 7 Participating States• Alabama Definition of Participating States• Colorado• Kentucky • Participating States provide staff to serve on PARCC’s design committees, working groups, and other task• North Dakota forces established by the Governing Board to conduct the• Ohio work necessary to design and develop PARCC’s proposed• Pennsylvania assessment system• South Carolina • By 2014–15, any state that remains in PARCC must commit to statewide implementation and administration of the Partnership’s assessment system • Any PARCC Participating State prepared to make the commitments and take on the responsibilities of a Governing State can become one12
    13. 13. PARCC’s Goals and Purposes 1. Create high-quality assessments ̶ Grounded in research; internationally benchmarked; anchored in college readiness 2. Build a pathway to college and career readiness for all students – Aligned to college- and career-ready, common core standards – Signal students about college readiness 3. Support educators in the classroom 4. Develop 21st century, technology-based assessments 5. Advance accountability at all levels13
    14. 14. Create High-Quality Assessments Flexible Early Assessment Mid-Year Assessment Performance-Based End-of-Year • Early indicator of • Performance-based Assessment (PBA) Assessment student knowledge • Emphasis on hard to • Extended tasks • Innovative, computer- and skills to inform measure standards • Applications of concepts based items instruction, supports, • Potentially and skills and PD summative ELA/Literacy • Speaking Summative Formative • Listening assessment for assessment accountability14
    15. 15. Create High Quality Assessments• To address these priority purposes, PARCC will develop an assessment system comprised of four components. Each component will computer- delivered and will leverage technology to incorporate innovations. – Two summative assessment components designed to • Make “college- and career-readiness” and “on-track” determinations • Measure the full range of standards and full performance continuum • Provide data for accountability uses, including measures of growth – Two formative assessment components designed to • Generate timely information for informing instruction, interventions, and professional development during the school year • In ELA/literacy, an additional third formative component will assess students’ speaking and listening skills15
    16. 16. Create High Quality Assessments • Summative Assessment Components: – Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) administered as close to the end of the school year as possible. The ELA/literacy PBA will focus on writing effectively when analyzing text. The mathematics PBA will focus on applying skills, concepts, and understandings to solve multi-step problems requiring abstract reasoning, precision, perseverance, and strategic use of tools – End-of-Year Assessment (EOY) administered after approx. 90% of the school year. The ELA/literacy EOY will focus on reading comprehension. The math EOY will be comprised of innovative, machine-scorable items • Formative Assessment Components: – Early Assessment designed to be an indicator of student knowledge and skills so that instruction, supports and professional development can be tailored to meet student needs – Mid-Year Assessment comprised of performance-based items and tasks, with an emphasis on hard-to-measure standards. After16 study, individual states may consider including as a summative component
    17. 17. Create High Quality Assessments Priority Purposes of PARCC Assessments: 1. Determine whether students are college- and career-ready or on track 2. Assess the full range of the Common Core Standards, including standards that are difficult to measure 3. Measure the full range of student performance, including the performance high and low performing students 4. Provide data during the academic year to inform instruction, interventions and professional development 5. Provide data for accountability, including measures of growth 6. Incorporate innovative approaches throughout the17 system
    18. 18. Build a Pathway to College and Career Readiness for All Students Targeted K-2 formative College Timely student achievement interventions & assessment readiness score data showing students, parents supports: being to identify who and educators whether ALL •12th-grade bridgedeveloped, alig is ready for students are on-track to college courses ned to the college-level and career readiness • PD for educatorsPARCC system coursework SUCCESS IN FIRST- YEAR, CREDIT- K-2 3-8 High School BEARING, POSTSEC ONDARY COURSEWORK ONGOING STUDENT SUPPORTS/INTERVENTIONS18
    19. 19. PARCC Timeline SY 2012-13 SY 2013-14 SY 2014-15 Summer 2015 SY 2010-11 SY 2011-12 First year Second year Set Full pilot/field pilot/field achievement Launch and Development administration testing and testing and levels, including design phase begins of PARCC related research related research college-ready assessments and data and data performance collection collection levels19
    20. 20. PARCC’s Key StakeholdersTeachers, School Leaders, District Administrators, and State Officials • Stakeholders will regularly and quickly have a wider variety of useful performance dataParents, Students, and the Public • PARCC’s assessments will, for the first time, give information about student performance relative to children in other states and against achievement standards anchored in college- and career-ready knowledge and skillsHigher Education • Assessments will identify whether students are ready for and prepared to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing postsecondary courses by the time they graduate from high school20
    21. 21. Higher Education: Key PARCC Partner • Colleges and universities across all 25 PARCC states are committed as partners • Role of Higher Education: - Partner with K-12 to develop college-ready high school assessments in English and mathematics acceptable to all PARCC colleges and universities - Guide long-term strategy to engage all colleges and universities in PARCC states - Lay groundwork for implementation of college-ready high school assessments as valid placement instruments for credit-bearing courses • PARCC college-ready assessments will help students to • Enter colleges better prepared • Persist in and complete degree and certificate programs21
    22. 22. Current Issues with College Readiness22
    23. 23. ADP Research Documents Expectations Gap What students are typically The knowledge and skills expected to know at the end demanded by postsecondary and of high school, as defined by state standards, required ≠ employers for successful first- year students and new curriculum and assessments employees. RESULT In many states, students can earn a high school diploma without the skills necessary for success in college and careers.23
    24. 24. College Readiness: Placement NOT Admission College Readiness • Mastery of core competencies in Common Core State Standards identified by postsecondary education faculty as key to success in entry-level, credit-bearing courses in English and mathematics • Placement into “General Education types” of English (101) and College Algebra • Not intended to determine admission to college or university • Does not replace college/university tests to place students into higher level mathematics and English courses • Does not address non-traditional students who delay enrollment24
    25. 25. PARCC States: College Readiness Benchmarks ACT SAT PARCC STATES PARCC STATES ACT SAT Low High Median Low High Median CRITICAL READING (SAT)/ ENGLISH (ACT) 18 500 17 21 19 400 600 450/500 (50%) MATH (SAT)/ COLLEGE ALGEBRA (ACT) 22 500 16 22 19 400 600 460/500 (54%) Source: SAT: The College Board, Wayne Camara, Vice President Research and Development. 65% probability FTF earn 2.7 (B-) or higher. ACT: Issues in College Readiness, 2010. 50% probability of B or better; 75%, C or better. PARCC: PARCC State responses to Remediation Policies, HE 01-11, January 6, 201125
    26. 26. Failure to Meet English and Math Proficiency • Students cannot enroll in many required college classes until they meet the requirement; • They must spend time taking remedial English and math classes during their freshman year until they meet the requirement; • They will graduate later because they get no degree credit for these remedial classes; • They may have to pay additional charges for these classes; and • If they do not demonstrate proficiency by the end of the freshman year, they will be disenrolled.26
    27. 27. Higher Education Engagement27
    28. 28. Higher Education and the PARCC Governance Structure28
    29. 29. Higher Education Engagement Advisory Committee on College Readiness (ACCR) • State executive higher education officers, and system and institution chancellors/presidents from partnership states • Representatives from national education associations, HSI, and HBCU Higher Education Leadership Team • One representative from each PARCC state (Governing and Participating) • Participates in the development of policies and college-ready assessments • Structure and coordinate state postsecondary leadership cadres State Visits • Higher education commissions and boards, system and institutional academic leadership (presidents, CAOs, provosts), key faculty from colleges of arts and sciences and education29
    30. 30. Massachusetts’ Higher Education EngagementMassachusetts has had representation at the following…• PARCC Higher Education Kick-off Meeting• Higher Education Kitchen Cabinet• K-12 and Higher Education Engagement Meeting/Joint K-12 and Higher Education Leadership Team Meeting• 1st PARCC Transition and Implementation Institute• K-12 and Higher Education Design Meeting/Higher Education Leadership Team Meeting• 2nd PARCC Transition and Implementation Institute• First Advisory Committee on College Readiness (ACCR) MeetingAdvisory Committee on College Readiness:• Dr. Richard Freeland, Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher EducationHigher Education Leadership Team:• Dr. Aundrea Kelley, Deputy Commissioner for P-16 Policy and Collaborative Initiatives, Massachusetts Department of Higher EducationFaculty Representatives:• Dr. Loretta Holloway, Framingham State University (ELA)• Dr. Leslie Horton, Quinsigamond Community College (Math) 30
    31. 31. Higher Education Engagement • Collaborate on design parameters • Identify college-ready core competencies in ELA and mathematics in the CCSS • Develop college ready cut scores based upon research and validation • Create better alignment of high school curricula with first-year college courses • Develop “bridge courses” and explore dual enrollment policies • Target college readiness supports to help students make the transition from high school to postsecondary institutions31
    32. 32. Common Standards and Assessments: Benefits to Higher Education • Improved preparation of incoming students – from all states • Better information about the preparation of incoming students • Reduced remediation rates • Increased degree attainment rates • Clear guidance for teacher preparation programs regarding content and skills teacher at each grade must be prepared to teach • Increased academic rigor in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses • Better options for academic interventions to ensure students remain on- track to college readiness32
    33. 33. The Challenge Ahead for Higher Education • Identifying a set of core competencies in English and mathematics reflected in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that signal that a student is on-track to be college-ready • Agreeing on college-readiness standards acceptable to all college and universities within and across states • Communicating clear placement standards to high school teachers • Helping students use their senior year more effectively to prepare academically for college through better interventions • Helping teachers, pre-service and in-service, prepare to teach to the new standards and assessments • Connecting the current initiatives in states regarding college preparation, access, and completion33
    34. 34. “If we cannot learn wisdom from experience, it is hard to say where it is to be found.” —George Washington34
    35. 35. Allison G. Jones Vice President, Postsecondary Collaboration Achieve 202.419.1540 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers www.achieve.org35