Dear Cranston Public Schools Community,
As we approach this year’s PARCC testing period and having analyzed our results from last year, it is evident that we have accomplished much and also have work ahead of us as a district. While standardized testing is a piece of how we assess student learning, it is important that parents, educators and the community understand that it is only one facet of our education system. For many years, standardized tests have been given to students and used as tools to refine curricula, examine course taking patterns, address learning gaps for students, etc. However, these tests do not singularly define our mission for children. Please keep these scores in perspective as results of tests, which provide useful data to us to ensure children are accessing high quality curriculum and which we are federally obligated to administer. PARCC is aligned with our expectations for students at every grade level, the work students do in class every day, and the skills that students will need for success beyond high school, including problem solving and critical thinking. We also know that a high quality education is reflected in graduation rates, college acceptance data, access to career and technical programs, arts, athletics and many other programs that are not measured by test scores.
That being said, we as a district want our students’ and teachers’ hard work to be recognized. In order for our students to perform proficiently on PARCC, educators in this district ensure that instruction reflects the implementation of the Common Core curriculum. No matter which annual assessment is adopted by the Rhode Island Department of Education, it is important that we recognize that we are are all collectively accountable for student learning with expectations of proficiency.
In order to clarify any confusion about graduation requirements related to the PARCC test, the following information is important:
Our assessment policy outlines that students are expected to participate in the administration of the annual standardized test as determined by RIDE. Currently those are the PARCC and Science NECAP tests in grades 3-11.
Achievement of a certain score/proficiency or “passing” PARCC, is currently not a graduation requirement.
We are not tying a student’s grade in a particular class to the PARCC or NECAP tests.
We are following the RIDE guidance that achievement of a certain score or “passing” PARCC will not be considered a graduation requirement in RI school districts until the students in the graduating class of 2021 take the assessment in high school.
In our district, I am happy that we had two RIDE Commended schools this year; in the entire state of RI, only seventeen schools have achieved this classification. Seven of our Title 1 (high poverty schools), have been classified as high performing; in the entire state twenty-nine schools have this designation.
These positive results are a testament to the faculty and parents who have encouraged and supported our children in this district. Children who took the PARCC tests last year provided the district with information that will be used to improve education in Cranston. The results assist us in learning more about student skills and concept development and acquisition. This is what fine tunes our abilities to help youngsters achieve in an individualized way. We are all collectively responsible as teachers, parents and leaders to be accountable for every child’s success as demonstrated by a variety of meaningful tasks and assessments, including PARCC.
As we continue to organize and prepare for the PARCC assessment, I thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation.