Illinois students take the PARCC Assessment in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. Please explore the FAQs below to learn more about what to expect from the test this year.

What is PARCC?

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC, pronounced “park”) is a group of states and the District of Columbia that worked together to develop a common set of computer-based assessments for English language arts/Literacy and mathematics. The PARCC system aligns college and career readiness expectations from kindergarten through Grade 12, assessing overall achievement of grade level Illinois Learning Standards. The PARCC Assessment goes beyond typical measures by having students analyze information and explain their answers. It also takes advantage of technology to include questions and other tasks that emulate the type of work students will encounter in their classrooms and after high school.

What is included in the individual student results?

The report includes the student’s overall scale score, the degree to which the student met expectations, and how well he/she did in comparison to other students within certain categories. The “Score Graph” that is provided shows the score ranges for each performance level and where the child’s score falls within that range (i.e. a score of 745). This gives an indication of how close the child is to achieving the next level and shows how the student’s performance compared to students in the same grade at the same school, across the school district, and around the state.

How are the results used to support student success?

PARCC is considered within the context of a portfolio of student data that includes other assessments, classroom work, and teacher observation.

As a parent, how can I help my child prepare for the PARCC Assessment?

As noted on “PARCC tests mirror the work students are doing every day in classrooms, so students do not need to ‘cram’ or study for this test. Because test questions reflect what they are learning and doing in the classroom every day, the best preparation and practice is through the classwork and homework they complete throughout the year. Talking with your student’s teacher can help you determine which skills to reinforce at home. If your child would like to become familiar with the structure and format of the new tests, a practice test is available online.”

The National PTA provides these additional tips:

  • Discuss the assessments with your child. Make sure he/she is not afraid or anxious.
  • Explain to your child that the assessments may be more challenging. Tell your child you have high expectations and that you are there to help every step of the way.
  • When results are made available, review them with your child, taking time to discuss areas of strength and areas where there is room for improvement. Bring the teacher into the discussion as needed.
  • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and has a healthy breakfast in the morning.