PARCC Releases Draft Grade- and Subject-Specific PLDs for Public Comment

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PARCC Releases Draft Grade- and Subject-Specific PLDs for Public Comment


WASHINGTON - April 10, 2013 - The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) today released the draft grade- and subject-specific performance level descriptors (PLDs) in English language arts/literacy (ELA) and mathematics for public comment. Performance levels, sometimes referred to as "achievement levels," are the broad, categorical levels used to report student performance on an assessment, and the PLDs further describe what that performance means.

The draft grade- and subject-specific PLDs were informed by the College- and Career-Ready Determination Policy (CCRD) and Policy-Level Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) adopted by the PARCC Governing Board and Advisory Committee on College Readiness (ACCR), which established five performance levels for the PARCC assessments.

The policy-level PLDs included policy claims, which describe the educational implications for students who attain a particular performance level on the PARCC assessments, as well as general content claims, which describe in broad terms the knowledge, skills, and practices students performing at a given performance level are able to demonstrate at any grade level.


These new draft grade- and subject-specific PLDs further articulate the knowledge, skills, and practices that students performing at a given level should be able to demonstrate in each content area at each grade level and to be on-track for college and career readiness.


“The draft PLDs are a collaborative product of K-12 and higher education content experts from across the PARCC states. An innovative approach was used to develop the PLDs,” said Dr. Maridyth McBee, Assistant Superintendent of Accountability and Assessment for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, who helped lead the development of the PLDs. “We eagerly anticipate the comments made by the public so that we can refine the PLDs.”


The PLDs will look different than from those in the past in order to accurately reflect the innovations in the Common Core State Standards. Like the standards, the ELA/Literacy PLDs place emphasis on a student’s ability to find text-based evidence for generalizations, conclusions or inferences drawn. The Mathematics PLDs emphasize the integration of mathematics content and practices.


Groups of PARCC stakeholders, including state leaders and K-12 and postsecondary content experts, served on writing panels over the past several months to develop the draft grade- and subject-specific PLDs.


Vinnie Segalini, ELA PLD Panelist and Office Director for English Language Arts at the Mississippi Department of Education, described the process in more detail. "The exciting part of the PLD process was to bring such a divergent group of people, including content specialists, assessment specialists, and classroom teachers, together for this project. We worked extremely hard to ensure that the Common Core State Standards were reflected in the PLDs in a holistic way."


With the release of the PLDs to the field, K-12 educators will be able to better understand how students should be performing against the Common Core State Standards and eventually apply feedback from the PARCC assessments in their classrooms. Jessica Lavallee, ELA PLD Panelist and Elementary Intervention Specialist at the Providence School Department, commented, “In the PLDs, there is recognition of the variations in students’ level of command of the standards. A close look at the variations from level to level may help guide us in the development of rubrics to collaboratively study student work, to consider how student performance on a daily basis may be indicative of their performance on PARCC, and to develop appropriate scaffolds for students not yet meeting the standards.”


Furthermore, the PLDs provide yet another opportunity for both K-12 and higher education to come together to create an assessment that will serve the needs of educators in both sectors and show whether or not students are on-track to be college and career ready.


“In my estimation, the PLDs provide a useful tool to help teachers understand how PARCC will be interpreting the standards as they develop the assessment. Given that PARCC aims to serve as a demonstration of college and career readiness, I was glad to see PARCC include members of the higher education community throughout the process. Such a partnership continues to contribute to the overall quality and strength of PARCC,” said Dr. Ted Coe, Mathematics PLD Panelist and Chair of Scottsdale Community College Department of Mathematics.


From April 10 until May 8, 2013, the draft grade- and subject-specific PLDs are posted on the PARCC website. Interested parties can provide feedback through a survey posted on the PARCC website, answering questions specific to the PLDs for both ELA/literacy and mathematics.

All feedback will be reviewed by the state representatives and Achieve, PARCC's project management partner. Revisions will be made accordingly. The PARCC Governing Board and Advisory Committee on College Readiness will vote on the adoption of the final PLDs during their joint session on June 26, 2013.

For more information, FAQs or to view the PLDs, visit

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