River Trails School District 26 is one of the Illinois school districts that will field-test the state's new assessment test this year.
The new assessment, known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is scheduled to be implemented statewide next school year.
Select classes in District 26 will field-test PARCC this spring, though, to provide students, teachers and administrators with a sense of how its various components work.
"We're curious and excited about how it will turn out," said Matt Silverman, the Mount Prospect-based district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. "This is new territory."
PARCC is built around the Common Core educational standards recently adopted in Illinois. It will replace the ISAT as the prime assessment tool for elementary students.
Silverman said PARCC is designed to do a better job at measuring students' abilities to think critically and demonstrate higher-order thinking. In some cases, students will be asked to demonstrate how they arrived at their answers.
"It definitely involves more than just filling in circles on a 'bubble sheet,'" Silverman said.
PARCC is a computer-based assessment, and unlike the ISAT, it will be administered more than once a year.
The first round of field-testing will take place in late March or early April.
For general information about PARCC, visit parcconline.org.