PARCC States Vote to Shorten Test Time and Simplify Test Administration

logo-parccThe PARCC Governing Board, made up of the state education commissioners and superintendents, voted recently to consolidate the two PARCC testing windows into one and to reduce total test time by about 90 minutes beginning in the 2015-16 school year. The vote came in response to school district and teacher feedback during the first year of testing and a careful review of the test design.

The changes will improve and simplify test administration for schools, teachers and students, without diminishing the goal of the assessment: to ensure every student in every school is being taught what they need to know order to be successful in the next school year and, ultimately, in college or career.

“I am happy to support these changes, which are designed to make PARCC easier for schools to schedule and which will reduce the amount of time students spend on the assessment,” said Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester, who serves as chair of the PARCC consortium governing board. “We continue to listen to the field as we learn from this initial PARCC administration.”

This year’s PARCC testing was done in two parts-the performance based testing conducted in early spring and the end-of-year testing conducted in late spring, closer to end of the school year. Five million students in 11 states and the District of Columbia completed the PARCC assessments this year.

On May 20, 2015 the PARCC governing board voted to:

— Reduce the testing time for students by about 90 minutes overall (60 minutes in mathematics; 30 minutes in English language arts) and create more uniformity of test unit times.

— Consolidate the two testing windows in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (which includes reading and writing) into one.

— The single testing window will simplify administration of the test for states and schools that experienced challenges with scheduling two testing windows.

— The testing window will be up to 30 days and will extend from roughly the 75% mark to the 90% mark of the school year. Most schools will complete testing in one to two weeks during that window.

— Reduce the number of test units for all students by two or three units.

The PARCC consortium governing board is made up of the education commissioners and superintendents from each PARCC state: Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Louisiana and Mississippi also are administering the PARCC assessments this year, as are the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Bureau of Indian Education.

The changes follow a substantive reduction in the length of the ELA portion of the test that was made last year following the spring 2014 field test of the PARCC assessment with 1 million students.  

Read more details of the test design changes on