Welcome to the Office of the Superintendent
Mary A. Czajkowski, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools
Education in Massachusetts has a long-standing tradition of excellence and is often considered the top performing state in the nation. Massachusetts students are performing at high levels – on par with some of the highest performing nations in the world. Despite this, not all students are enjoying the same level of success. To remain competitive globally, education in Massachusetts cannot stand still. We need to continue to invest in public education, upgrade our curriculum and instruction to reflect the demands of the 21st century, and put all students on a pathway to college and career readiness.
In 2010, Massachusetts adopted new learning standards, and since then, schools across the Commonwealth have been introducing them into classrooms. The standards are more rigorous than previous standards and are tied to the skills and knowledge that colleges and employers expect of our high school graduates.
Massachusetts is one of 18 states working collaboratively to develop PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. PARCC is a key component of the state's commitment to prepare all students for success after high school. The state will administer PARCC tests to students in grades 3 through 11 in two subjects, English language arts and mathematics. Just as MCAS assessed students on the ‘older’ Massachusetts curriculum standards, PARCC will assess students on the learning standards introduced in 2010.
One significant change from MCAS is that PARCC is a computer-based test, though a paper-and-pencil option exists. Computers are playing an increasingly larger role in everything we do, including education. A computer-based test will allow us to improve the ways that students can demonstrate on a test what they know and are able to do. For instance, students will be able to use the computer to complete performance-based tasks that better measure the range of skills we value and colleges and employers report are necessary for students to acquire.
This spring, more than 1.35 million students in grades 3-11 across 14 states, including Massachusetts, will take a PARCC field test. A field test lets the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) try out the test questions, make sure the questions measure the subject area content contained in the learning standards, and build the best test. In Massachusetts, roughly 15 percent of students in grades 3-11 will take a PARCC test this spring and try out the test questions. The PARCC field test will extend to the next school year as well.
In Barnstable, three schools will be field testing PARCC:
| School|| Grade Level |
| Barnstable United Elementary|| 4|| 2|| Math|
| Barnstable United Elementary|| 5|| 2|| ELA|
| Barnstable Intermediate|| 6 || 2|| ELA |
| Barnstable Intermediate|| 7|| 2|| ELA|
| Barnstable High School || || 4|| Algebra I|
| Barnstable High School|| 10|| 4|| Math|
All told, less than 340 students will be taking the PARCC field test. A very important item to share is that students who take a PARCC field test this year will not receive a score or grade based on their performance. In the development of a large-scale assessment, items must be field tested to ensure they will perform properly on the operational test.
Based on the two-year "test drive" of PARCC, the state commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education will evaluate the strengths of PARCC and the program's ability to measure the state's new academic learning standards in English language arts and Mathematics. The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will vote whether to fully adopt PARCC as the state's new testing program in fall 2015.
PARCC will provide clearer signals about students' readiness for the next grade level and, in high school, readiness for college and careers. Each of Massachusetts' 29 public two-year and four-year colleges and universities have committed to use student performance on the PARCC tests as an indicator of students' readiness for entry-level, credit-bearing college courses.
More information will be available on our web site as the winter progresses.