Maryland officials plan to release results from the state’s first Common Core-aligned exams beginning in October.
State-level data for high school exams in English and algebra are scheduled for release Oct. 27, and middle school and elementary school test results are expected Dec. 8. Individual student scores will be sent home to families in the weeks following the two state releases, officials said.
The tests are known by the acronym PARCC, a reference to their creator, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. PARCC exams are linked to the Common Core State Standards, a set of academic benchmarks adopted in many states. The Common Core has recently come under increasing attack and is a popular target for Republican presidential candidates who say they view it as a form of federal intrusion on state-level education policies.
For now, PARCC scores are not tied to school or teacher accountability in Maryland. The State Board of Education is expected to review data and decide how to use results for future accountability purposes, officials said.
“This will be baseline data, and it will help us all set our path forward,” said Bill Reinhard, spokesman for the Maryland State Department of Education. Interest has been strong among educators, parents and students, he said.
In all, 575,000 public school students in Maryland took the tests last school year, with 82 percent doing so online. Paper-and-pencil versions of the exam are allowed, as needed, during the first three years the exam is administered.
Maryland officials emphasized that the new tests are not comparable to the Maryland School Assessment, the state’s previous standardized tests, which were used for a decade.
State officials said the PARCC tests require students to do more writing and analytical thinking. “It’s a much more difficult test,” Reinhard said.
The PARCC tests given this school year are expected to be about 90 minutes shorter than the 2014-2015 tests, a shift that followed complaints about lost instructional time.