Predictive Validity of MCAS and PARCC: Comparing 10th Grade MCAS Tests to PARCC Integrated Math II, Algebra II, and 10th Grade English Language Arts Tests

From the Executive Summary: "The Massachusetts Executive Office of Education commissioned this study to provide timely, rigorous evidence on the extent to which MCAS and PARCC test scores can accurately assess whether students will succeed in college (recognizing that this was not the original aim of MCAS). To examine this question, at the end of the 2014–2015 academic year, state education agencies coordinated the administration of 10th-grade MCAS and corresponding PARCC assessments for a sample of first-year college students at 11 public higher-education campuses in Massachusetts. By testing first-year students who were already in college, this study intended to provide early evidence regarding college outcomes of students relative to their performance on the MCAS or PARCC exams."

Content Comments 

This is a first study examining the predictive validity of the PARCC examination compared with the Massachusetts’ state assessment. By examining evidence about the validity of these two exams, this study provides a model for other states weighing difficult choices about whether to keep or reform current statewide educational assessments. The study’s primary outcome noted the strength of associations between first-year college grades and each assessment's test scores. The study articulated its limitations of utilizing a sample of “enrolled college students at public institutions in the state, who might not be representative of the statewide population of high school students." This study is important in its initial, timely evidence to help reveal whether the MCAS or PARCC better predict students’ success in college, an important question for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.