Here’s the difference between Common Core and PARCC


If you don’t have a child in school then you might not be familiar with Common Core or PARCC. But even parents are often confused between what Common Core is and what it isn’t. 

The most common mistake made is believing that Common Core is a series of tests. To be fair, Common Core does have a relationship to a new set of standardized tests called PARCC. 

To help understand the difference between Common Core and PARCC, I called up John Mooney, who covers education for NJ Spotlight, an online publication covering policiy issues in New Jersey. The answers below are the main points in our conversation, which you can listen to as a podcast. 

Q: What’s the difference between Common Core and PARCC?

A: Common Core State Standards are a new approach to teaching language arts and math classes. They are designed to raise the rigor of what is taught in schools. They are designed to get students to explain how did you get to your answer as opposed to what is the answer. CCSS were very much pushed by the federal government but they are not national standards. To date 43 states have opted to use these standards.  

PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. These are online tests based on Common Core.  In New Jersey, these tests will be used in grades 3-11 this Spring. 

Grade 4 sample PARCC question:

Question: What is the meaning of the word avenge as it is used in the story?

a. believeb. get even*c. make friends withd. scare


Option B is the correct response; the context shows that the family member is to get even with Cougar for threatening to destroy the cricket’s home. Options A, C, and D all make sense in the sentence, but not in the context of the story.

Read John Mooney’s full story on Common Core



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