Dear Parents and Guardians,

This year, a new computer-based test, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment, will replace the paper-and-pencil High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) and the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics. NJASCS will administer the two-part PARCC assessments in both March and May to all students in grades 3 through 11 in English Language Arts, and in grades 3-8 in mathematics, plus and end-of-course PARCC assessment for high school students enrolled in Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. There will be no PARCC testing prior to 3rd grade.

All NJASCS schools have prepared for the transition to PARCC by upgrading our technology, working closely with the teachers who will administer the test, and preparing students for the conversion to computer-based assessments. Our students and teachers in selected grades had previous experience with PARCC when the assessments were field-tested in both Bergen ASCS and Passaic ASCS middle school campuses last spring.

The following pages include answers to questions received by both the New Jersey School Boards Association and NJASCS from parents regarding the new PARCC assessments. We have included information specific to our schools regarding testing dates and expectations of student participation. Please note that we have spaced the English and mathematics assessements into separate weeks so that your students would have a break between content-area sessions, and would be well-rested and prepared to do their very best. Rest assured that we have taken every step possible to ensure a smooth administration of the assessments for the educational benefit of your children.

Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your school administration.

The NJASCS Academic Team

PARCC Assessments: What You Need to Know

March Performance-Based Assessments (PBA)
Grades 3-11
All daily testing windows are from 8:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.




May End-of-Year Assessments (EOY)
Grades 3-8
(Grades 9-11 EOY schedule to be released by March 15th, and is contingent upon College Board AP Exams)
  All daily testing windows are from 8:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.  




How long will testing take?

The state has set aside a total of 10 hours per year for PARCC testing. Most students are expected to complete PARCC testing in less than the 10 hours allotted. For example, statewide, over half of students in grades 6 through 11 are predicted to finish all PARCC testing in 7 hours, while most third graders are expected to complete testing in 6 hours. More time has been allocated for PARCC testing because the new assessments measure progress toward all of the standards, not just a sampling of standards, as was the case with NJASK.

When will the state tests take place?

The PARCC assessments will be administered to students in two windows, in March and May.

In March, each child will participate in five testing sessions of 60 to 90 minutes each. The March tests, the Performance-Based (PBA) assessments, require written answers in which the students construct and explain their answers. While the tests will be taken on computers, children will have paper and pencil to use if they want to work out math problems, draft written answers, or outline essay responses before entering them on computers.

In May, children will be given the End-of-Year (EOY) assessments, largely multiple-choice questions that assess their learning for the entire school year. These tests are shorter in duration and will take place in four sessions per student.

How will NJASCS students take the test?

The PARCC tests are designed to be taken on computer. This mirrors the national movement toward computer-based testing, which will also affect college admissions tests and high school equivalency exams in the future. In our district, students will mostly be using Chromebooks in grades 3-8; students at the high school will be using iPads with a Bluetooth keyboard. Students will enter responses on the device, but will have pencil and paper available in order to formulate responses beforehand if they choose to do so.

How will NJASCS use the PARCC results?

The PARCC results will enable our district to evaluate the effectiveness of its education program in mathematics and language arts and to consider adjustments.

PARCC results will help teachers pinpoint areas in which an individual student needs more attention. For example, test data will enable an elementary school teacher to know if a student requires attention in a specific application, such as multiplication and division, in addition to his or her overall progress toward grade-level math standards. PARCC results can also guide teachers to individualize instruction for students who exceed grade-level standards, and may be used as a piece of supporting data in the holistic selection of students to participate in advanced coursework

As has always been our district’s practice, the state testing program will not be the sole factor in determining entry into gifted-and-talented programs, honors classes or advanced placement courses. Work done in class, teacher recommendations, and local assessment results are also major factors in determining your student’s school program. Student progress demonstrated through the PARCC assessments will make up 10% of the information that goes into the evaluations of teachers in the subject areas and grade levels tested.

In addition, “passing” the PARCC assessment will not be a high school graduation requirement for the classes of 2016, 2017 and 2018. For students beginning college, however, PARCC testing can eliminate the need to take additional placement tests before they start freshman year studies. Public colleges in many states, including all public colleges in New Jersey, will accept the PARCC results for student placement purposes.

For parents, PARCC will provide individualized information on their children’s progress toward meeting academic standards. The PARCC test results will not be used to determine promotion or be included in standard report card grades.

Could personal information about my child obtained through PARCC be sold?

No. Individual student results will remain confidential. Protections at the state and federal levels, and through all contracts and agreements, prevent student-identifiable data from being marketed or distributed. The selling of student data was never allowed in New Jersey under the NJASK or HSPA tests, and it is not permissible under the PARCC tests.

What happens if I refuse to let my child take the PARCC assessment?

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires schools with students in grades three through twelve to demonstrate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In order to make AYP, a school must ensure that assessments have been taken by at least ninety-five percent (95%) of enrolled students in each subgroup, i.e., special education, English language learners, income-based, race/ethnicity. Federal funding of key education programs is dependent upon districts meeting this requirement.

In compliance with this federal requirement, N.J.S.A. 18A:7C-1 requires the Commissioner of Education (Commissioner), with approval of the State Board of Education, to establish a program of standards for graduation from secondary school, and such a program shall include, “[t]he development of a Statewide assessment test in reading, writing, and computational skills to be administered to all secondary school pupils…” In addition, N.J.A.C. 6A:8-4.1(a) and (b) provides, “[t]he Commissioner…may implement assessment of student achievement in the State’s public schools in any grade(s) and by such assessments as he or she deems appropriate,” and the Commissioner “…shall define the scope and level of student performance on Statewide assessments that demonstrate thorough understanding of the knowledge and skills delineated by the CCCS at grade levels three through 12.” Subsection (c) further states that district boards of education “shall, according to a schedule prescribed by the Commissioner, administer the applicable Statewide assessments,” and subsection (d) confirms that “all students at grade levels three through 12, and at any other grade(s) designated by the Commissioner…shall take appropriate Statewide assessments as scheduled.”

As outlined above, state regulations do not allow parents to opt their children out of state testing. If your child is not participating in the test, you are asked to keep your student home that day, and to email the administration with the reason for your child’s absence. This will count as an unexcused absence. The student will not be asked to participate again during the make-up testing window, because an initial refusal to test is considered sufficient.

Should your child come to school the day of the scheduled assessment for his/her grade level and refuses to test, your child will be excused from the testing area and escorted to the office to call their parent/guardian to pick them up from school. The refusal to test is considered a “testing irregularity”, and state protocol indicates that this must be reported to the NJDOE within 48 hours. There will be no additional learning activities during the testing window provided for students who refuse to test, nor will these students be permitted to stay in the building during the testing window, as the state test is the learning activity planned for that time. We strongly encourage you to ensure that your child participates in PARCC. The information obtained through the assessment will determine how we can improve our school district’s education program and help your child reach his or her full academic potential.

  • Other Resources +

    PARCC Social Media Blitz
    PARCC Computer-Based Sample Items
    PARCC 2014-2015 FACT SHEET
    Additional PARCC Resources For Parents
    Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
    15 Things Every Student, Teacher, and Administrator Should Know about the PARCC Assessment
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