Thursday, March 20, 2014

What does the Worcester Public Schools' letter to parents about PARCC say?

I have only a hard copy, so I'm typing this. It's late and it's been a long day...all typos are mine.

March 19, 2014

Dear Parent/Guardian:

As you may have heard, Massachusetts is a participating state in the Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, a multi-state project to develop a next-generation, computer-based testing program. The goal of PARCC is to measure student progress toward the state's new academic learning standards in English language arts and mathematics.

Over the next two years, Massachusetts is piloting the PARCC test in schools throughout the state to see how well it measures the state's learning standards and to help determine whether it should replace MCAS, the state's current testing program. I am writing to inform you that your child's class has been selected for participation in an English language arts or mathematics field test between March 24 and April 11.

The purpose of the field test is to allow schools and students to experience the new test before it counts and to allow PARCC developers to ensure that the test questions are fair, on grade level, and measure the intended skills. I would like to assure you that your child will not receive a score or grade based on the PARCC test. Should you choose for your child not to participate in the field test, please notify your child's principal prior to the testing date. Your child's school will be notifying you of the testing dates soon. There will be no academic or disciplinary penalty for not participating, and appropriate accommodations will be provided during testing time.

If you wish to learn more about PARCC, please visit the web site of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at If you have additional questions, you may contact Worcester Public Schools' Office of Research and Accountability at or, as always, ask your child's principal.

Melinda J. Boone, Ed.D.

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