This spring, Illinois students in the third through eighth grade and some high school students will take the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments that are replacing the ISAT (Illinois Standards Achievement Test) tests. Illinois PTA has partnered with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to help educate families on the new assessments with the creation of the PARCC Primer event.
The PARCC Primer is designed as a 60-minute turnkey event for schools to provide hands-on experience with the new assessments as well as current teaching and learning strategies in English language arts and math, including the opportunity to take some sample PARCC test items on the computer. The PARCC Primer materials include everything needed to run the event, from an overall to-do list to parent invitations to instructions for each activity station to handouts for families. Materials are currently available in English, and Spanish versions for handouts are coming soon.
At the PARCC Primer, families will be assigned to one of three groups. These three groups will circulate through three activity stations:
- An English Language Arts Activity Station where families will participate in a close reading activity, illustrating what their child is learning under the new Illinois Learning Standards.
- A Mathematics Activity Station where families will play a math game to show how their child is developing their number sense.
- A Mini-PARCC Station where families will be able to take sample test questions from the PARCC practice tests on the computer.
After completing the three activity stations, everyone will gather for a brief 15-minute session where parents can get their questions regarding PARCC answered.
While the PARCC Primer is designed to be run by school teachers and administrators, PTAs should encourage their school administration to offer the event for families and can help with parts of the event such as manning the sign-in table and helping to direct people to the proper activity stations.