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PARCC 101: Assessment Summit for Higher Education

On September 13, 2013, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), working with partners from the Illinois Community College Board(ICCB) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), hosted a one-day summit in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. Titled PARCC 101: Assessment Summit for Higher Education, the primary goal was to provide Illinois' higher education leaders information about the new initiative implementing national standards and associated assessments in Illinois’ PK-12 system. PARCC, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a multi-state consortium developing performance-based K-12 assessments in math and English. Illinois is one of eleven PARCC governing states.

Why is this important to institutions of higher education?  Starting in 2014, students in grades 3-11 in the State of Illinois will be evaluated through the new PARCC assessment system, which is aligned with the Common Core State Standards for math and English language arts. As a result, students and their parents will be getting PARCC results that will include specific information about how they are progressing toward college and career readiness, culminating in grade 11 results that will include a college and career readiness determination. Students who are prepared to succeed in credit-bearing general education math and English courses will be deemed to be college-ready and should not need remedial course work in those subject areas.


In attendance at the summit were over 200 administrators from 89 institutions of higher education and 3 university/college systems.

  • IBHE Executive Director Dr. Harry Berman opened the day with remarks establishing the urgency colleges and universities should be feeling about preparing for this advance in education.
  • PARCC Vice President for Postsecondary Collaboration Allison Jones and Senior Policy Associate for Postsecondary Engagement Callie Riley presented on PARCC’s development, timelines, and broad objectives from the national level.
  • ISBE Director of Assessment Dr. Mary O’Brian  spoke about the work Illinois is undertaking for K-12 PARCC implementation.
  • Ohio Board of Regents Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs P-16 Initiative Dr. Rebecca Watts showed how Ohio has been preparing for use of PARCC in statewide initiatives that are reducing remediation rates and clarifying college readiness expectations.

In addition to raising awareness, IBHE used the summit to develop a statewide network of college and university PARCC teams who will lead their campus’ efforts to be ready for the opportunity these next-generation performance assessments will offer. To initiate the development of their campus strategies, participants engaged in facilitated planning to set institution-specific PARCC goals, select a contact person for the team, and begin developing a campus action agenda.

With PARCC 101 serving as a springboard in preparation for the PARCC assessment, additional professional development opportunities will be planned for the campus PARCC teams this academic year.

Additional resources:
Multistate level PARCC information:
Illinois PARCC information: 
ISBE PARCC information:
ISBE Common Core State Standards information:

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