MS Students Begin Statewide Testing on College & Career Readiness Standards

This week, Mississippi students will begin taking the first part of a two-part test that will measure what they know under Mississippi College- and Career-Ready Standards. This is the first year for assessments that align to the new standards.

For the current school year, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (P.A.R.C.C.) replaces the Mississippi Curriculum Test – 2nd edition (M.C.T.2) for English Language arts and Mathematics for grades 3 through 8 and the Subject Area Testing Program – 2nd edition (S.A.T.P.2) for Algebra I and English II. The P.A.R.C.C. tests are now referred to as M.C.T.3 and S.A.T.P.3.

The M.C.T.3 and S.A.T.P.3 have two parts: A performance-based assessment (P.B.A.), beginning in March, asks students to provide and explain their answers. The end-of-the-year exam (E.O.Y.), given before school is out, is multiple-choice. The E.O.Y. exam is scheduled to begin April 27th.

The new assessments will measure what the students have been learning under the standards, and they will provide a more accurate picture of student knowledge than previous tests because they ask students to demonstrate and apply what they know instead of just picking the right answer from a multiple-choice question. Dr. Carey Wright, State Superintendent of Education, said the assessment measures real-world skills, such as critical thinking, writing and problem solving.

“These are skills that adults need to succeed, and our students are learning how to do this each day in school to better prepare them for the rigors of college coursework or direct entry into the workplace,” she said.

Students will spend only 5 to 10 ¼ hours on statewide exams this year, depending on their grade level and type of test. On the former assessments, students spent 5 to 11 hours on exams. The new tests provide writing assessments in all grades 3-11 whereas Mississippi previously only assessed writing in grades 4, 7, and 10.

Testing in grades 3 through 8 and in high school in Science, English Language Arts and Math are required under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The test results provide valuable information for parents and communities.

“Parents should be able to know whether or not their children have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. The new assessments provide an academic check-up and help teachers and parents know whether students are on track to be college and career ready each step of the way,” Wright said.

The M.D.E. is currently seeking proposals for a multi-year assessment beginning in the 2015-16 school year. The testing contract with N.C.S. Pearson Inc. for administering the P.A.R.C.C. assessment is an emergency procurement, which is limited to one year. Any assessment vendor may submit a bid for the assessment contract provided they meet the R.F.P. requirements.

Additional information can be found in the P.A.R.C.C. Q&A located at the bottom of the P.A.R.C.C. page. Also, take the sample tests to learn more about the assessments.

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