Vineyard schools to field test new assessment system


State education officials recently released a list of more than 1,000 schools, including six on Martha’s Vineyard, that will field-test a new assessment system. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics are being considered as a replacement for Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams.

Beginning in March, approximately 81,000 students in grades 3-11 will take a PARCC ELA or math field test, according to a press release from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The state will try out the new tests this spring and next spring.

Since last September, DESE has worked with participating schools to choose a representative sample of students from a few classes at each school to take the field test. Students that participate will not receive a score or grade based on their performance, the press release said.

Edgartown School, Tisbury School, West Tisbury School, and Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School will try out the new PARCC tests online. Oak Bluffs School and the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School will use paper tests.

Students to be tested include Edgartown School eighth-graders (ELA); Oak Bluffs School fourth-graders (ELA); Tisbury School sixth-graders (math), seventh-graders (ELA), and eighth- graders (ELA); West Tisbury School fifth-graders (ELA); 50 ninth-graders at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (math); and Charter School sixth-graders (ELA) and ninth-graders (math).

MCAS, which has not been upgraded since its inception in 1998, was not designed to assess college and career readiness. Massachusetts is one of 18 states that worked collaboratively over the past several years to develop PARCC, to better gauge whether students are ready to do college-level work.