Today, the Illinois State Board of Education announced the preliminary statewide results of PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The new state assessment measures whether students are learning the math and English Language Arts skills they will need to prepare them for college and career success.
Preparing students to succeed in college and compete in an increasingly competitive career world is the fundamental responsibility of our public schools. Unfortunately, for years, too many Illinois high school graduates entered college unprepared and were forced to spend precious time and money in college on instruction we should have given them in high school. PARCC and the higher standards it measures represent a major step forward in ensuring our children receive the education they deserve. Unlike the old ISAT tests it replaced, PARCC asks students to apply their knowledge and demonstrate critical thinking. For the first time, we’re honestly measuring the skills students will need to be college- and career-ready.
Illinois students will inevitably find higher learning standards more challenging than our old standards that were clearly not preparing them for the future. At the same time, PARCC is an opportunity to accurately identify where students need to improve and help them learn the skills required to reach their full potential.