Another One: Illinois Releases PARCC Results
It seems that early release of PARCC test results is all the rage among PARCC states. At first, PARCC was reluctant on September 10, 2015, to release its complete set of freshly-minted cut scores, but it did so by the end of the day.
The word from PARCC communications director, David Connerty-Marin, was that PARCC states would release results “on its own timeline.”
Apparently for some states, that time is now.
That was a Thursday. On Monday, September 14, 2015, Ohio was the first PARCC state to release information about its online PARCC test results; then, in a September 15, 2015, memo to the state ed board, Massachusetts commissioner Mitchell Chester wrote that Massachusetts would release prelim PARCC results on September 21, 2015.
Now, on September 16, 2015, Illinois has released information about its online PARCC results.
Of course, the Illinois PARCC results are lousy. No news there. That’s the story America has been hearing before PARCC even existed– that Common Core was “higher,” and its tests would be “rigorous.” (I remember hearing this in a department meeting in early 2010.)
From the September 16, 2015, Chicago Sun Times:
What Supt. Tony Smith revealed was a vast majority of those students in Illinois were not yet proficient in math or English language arts, with only between 28 percent and 38 percent of third- through eighth-graders meeting state standards. The percentage of high-schoolers in Algebra I or Integrated Math I who exceeded standards was zero; 17 percent met them.
More Illinois students were proficient in English than in math, except for third-graders. Of the five performance levels approved Wednesday by the Illinois State Board of Education, only children who score in levels 4 or 5 are considered proficient. That said, the test carries no consequences for anyone this year.
Smith called the preliminary scores a baseline for going forward, and said that the results alone don’t tell the whole story.
“I think we should use this new test as a new starting point for our conversations about progress, and what our kids need to be ready for the next level of what’s coming in the future,” he said.
Chin up, Illinois. These lousy scores are only a half-full glass. Besides, there will be other PARCC states releasing terrible scores, and we can make it a senseless contest to see which of the few PARCC states is the worst.
Of course, there is no evidence that PARCC and its Common Core host have any empirically-established, practical connection to any useful outcome. But practicality is beside the test-obsessed point. These scores must be useful because they’re just too awful to not accurately capture the marketed message about American public education.
Yet Illinois superintendent Tony Smith speaks in tones sprinkled with sunbeams and of “conversations about progress.” But what will progress look like? Increased opt outs? The collapse of PARCC? Alternative cut-score-setting?
Exactly how useful is PARCC to “what’s coming in the future”?
I know what is coming in the not-too-distant future:
More PARCC states releasing results that prove America should just get it over with and surrender to Estonia.