I would like to take the opportunity to invite you to attend a Parent Information session on the PARCC exam that our fifth and sixth grade students will be field testing in April and May.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, is a multi-state project to develop a next-generation, computer-based testing program aligned to our academic learning standards. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education describes the PARCC exam as the opportunity to “offer rich, performance-based tasks that will provide you with a better measure of our children’s ability to write, think critically, and apply what they know. PARCC will also provide clearer signals to educators and parents about students’ readiness for the next grade level and, in high school, for college and careers.”

The purpose of a field test is to allow schools and students to experience a new test before it counts. A field test is how we ensure that the test questions are fair, on grade level, and measure the intended skills. This process helps us to make sure the test is as good as it can be. Students who have been selected to participate in a PARCC test this year will not receive a score or grade based on her or his performance. Over the next two years, Massachusetts is piloting PARCC to see how well it measures the state’s learning standards and whether it should replace MCAS, our current testing program.

The 5th and 6th grade teachers have been working closely with myself and Mr. Luke Callahan to prepare the students to take the PARCC exam. We have gone through an online tutorial with students to familiarize them with the testing platform as well as the tools that will be available to them while taking the test. Our next step is to walk through a sample test with the students. These will take place during the week of March 17-21st. The practice test should take about 30-40 minutes.

I would like to invite parents to an information evening scheduled for March 27, 2014 from 6:30-8:00PM in the BFCCPS auditorium. We will describe the testing procedures, schedule, answer any questions you may have about the test, and give parents the opportunity to view the testing platform as well as see sample testing items. While parents of students in grades five and six are highly encouraged to attend, all parents of BFCCPS are invited, regardless of whether or not your student will be participating in the field test.

Thank you!

Heather Zolnowski
Head of School