The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released the results of the 2015 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) on Friday. Last week also saw the passage and signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB). While NCLB brought in universal assessment of students over a decade ago, ESSA continues to require an annual assessment of children in grades 3 through 8 plus once in high school for both math and English.

Illinois PTA has already covered understanding your child’s score report, but it is also important to understand the role that assessment plays in your child’s education. Real Learning for Real Life has created a series of nine short videos to help families understand assessments. The videos feature Dr. Jim Pellegrino, Co-Director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Each video is two to three minutes in length and answer the following questions:

The videos point out that assessment is something that teachers are continuously doing to determine how well their students are learning. Standardized assessment such as PARCC is a compromise of competing needs: the need to determine what students have learned relative to the New Illinois Learning Standards, the need to provide information to the state on how students are doing collectively, and the need to get reliable information on those two needs without taking too much time or costing too much money. These videos provide a nuanced and informative look about what goes into assessments and provide families with a broader perspective on the role of assessment than they may have heard before.