The PARCC Governing Board, made up of the state education commissioners and superintendents, voted on May 20 to consolidate the two testing windows into one and to reduce total test time by about 90 minutes beginning in the 2015-16 school year.  The vote came in response to school district and teacher feedback during the first year of testing and a careful review of the test design.

The changes will improve and simplify test administration for schools, teachers and students, without diminishing the goal of the assessment—to ensure every student in every school is being taught what they need to know order to be successful in the next school year and, ultimately, in college or career. 

“New Mexico is delivering on our commitment to reduce testing time and continuously ensure that our students have the best educational experience possible,” said Hanna Skandera, New Mexico State Secretary of Education. “We’ve listened to the voices of all stakeholders – educators, parents, and students – and are using the lessons learned and feedback to produce a better assessment for New Mexico’s kids and administer a single testing window that reduces unnecessary work for educators across the state. With the improvements made to reduce testing time and having the one testing window instead of two, PARCC serves as an even better tool to help our kids succeed by providing valuable information to our schools, teachers, and parents.”

This year’s PARCC testing was done in two parts—the performance based testing conducted in early spring and the end-of-year testing conducted in late spring, closer to end of the school year. Five million students in 11 states and the District of Columbia completed the PARCC assessments this year.  

On May 20, 2015 the PARCC governing board voted to:

  • Reduce the testing time for students by about 90 minutes overall (60 minutes in mathematics; 30 minutes in English language arts) and create more uniformity of test unit times.
  • Consolidate the two testing windows in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (which includes reading and writing) into one.
    • The single testing window will simplify administration of the test for states and schools that experienced challenges with scheduling two testing windows.
    • The testing window will be up to 30 days and will extend from roughly the 75% mark to the 90% mark of the school year. Most schools will complete testing in one to two weeks during that window.
  • Reduce the number of test units by two or three for all students.

Learn more about the test design changes.

“I am happy to support these changes, which are designed to make PARCC easier for schools to schedule and which will reduce the amount of time students spend on the assessment,” said Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester. “We continue to listen to the field as we learn from this initial PARCC administration.”

The PARCC consortium governing board is made up of the education commissioners and superintendents from each PARCC state: Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Louisiana and Mississippi also are administering the PARCC assessments this year, as are the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Bureau of Indian Education. Five million students in 11 states and the District of Columbia are participating in the assessment this year.

The changes follow a substantive reduction in the length of the ELA portion of the test that was made last year following the spring 2014 field test of the PARCC assessment with 1 million students.


The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers – is a consortium of states working together to develop a set of mathematics and English language arts assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in the next academic work and, ultimately, in college and their careers. These assessments were designed from the ground up by educators to be different than previous state tests and to evaluate not only knowledge, but also important skills like critical thinking, problem solving and effective communications. The assessments provide critical information about whether students are on track in their learning and for success after high school, and tools to help teachers customize teaching and learning to meet student needs.