School committees in Massachusetts have an opportunity this month to accelerate progress towards key education reforms sought by employers.
How? By choosing to adopt the new assessment developed by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in place of the increasingly outdated MCAS instrument at the high school level. The new evaluation system was field-tested across the state earlier this year.
AIM supports the efforts of state education officials to extend standards-based reform with an assessment system that will facilitate better evaluation of schools and educators, target support to students' individual needs, and benchmark to interstate and international standards.
PARCC differs from MCAS by enabling schools to assess student achievement on a yearly basis, and to carry it beyond the tenth- grade level where MCAS ends. It will also facilitate interstate comparison of educational effectiveness.
Through its participation and leadership in the PARCC consortium, Massachusetts has joined with other states to create uniform standards developed at the initiative of governors and state education leaders. Working together, the cooperating states are putting in place a system superior to any could have achieved on their own, at much less cost.
As a result, we can begin to achieve the goals for our schools identified in a recent survey of Massachusetts employers co-sponsored by AIM: national and global standards, a culture of continuous improvement, sound preparation for both further education and the modern workplace, and a comprehensive assessment system as promised in the Education Reform Act of 1993.
The future of our economy depends on our ability and willingness to build on two decades of successful K-12 public school reform to maintain the national leadership and global competitiveness of our education system. We urge members of the employer community who serve, or have influence, on district school committees to support a timely transition to the PARCC assessment.