In 2010, New Jersey adopted the Common Core Standards which changed the expectations in language arts and mathematics to emphasize higher-order thinking skills and not just have students memorize information. Those standards are currently undergoing a five-year review to ensure that they reflect high expectations for New Jersey students that prepare them for college and careers.
In the 2014-15 school year, New Jersey transitioned from its former NJASK and HSPA assessments to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments in mathematics and English language arts. Students in grades 4 and 8 will still be taking the NJASK in science only (a one-day test in May), and select high school students will be taking the NJ Biology Competency Test (a two-day test in May). PARCC is a group of states in our nation that have come together to develop assessments linked to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The PARCC assessments more accurately measure the skills developed under the core academic standards and provide parents and educators with meaningful detailed information that can improve learning. In general, PARCC assessments will differ from the NJASK and HSPA in the following ways:
PARCC questions and essays resemble the high-quality coursework seen in the best classrooms.
Performance on PARCC assessments signal whether or not your child is making expected progress and whether or not he or she is on track to succeed in college or careers.
PARCC assessments provide educators and parents useful data on their students’ performance in a more timely way so that instruction, particularly in areas of difficulty, can be more customized and meaningful.
PARCC assessments provide comparability among states and equity among American students.
(adapted from the New Jersey Department of Education)
Additional PARCC Information