Tips for hosting a PARCC family night in High School
Incorporate key information throughout the evening.
New standards create the need for new assessments.
These tests not only evaluate students’ progress, but also
show teachers and parents where a student needs help so
they are able to personalize instruction to meet individual
These tests will help us ensure that all students, regardless
of income or family background, have equal access to a
world-class education that will prepare them for success in
college and careers.
These tests will help students achieve, which will lead to a
better-educated workforce, stronger communities and a
more competitive United States.
These tests serve as an educational GPS system, assessing
where a student currently is and determining the best route
to get to where they need to be by graduation so they are
career and college ready.
Create a parking lot for questions or have information
booths to answer families’ questions. Make sure to remind
families that they will get additional information through
follow up communications from the school in a newsletter,
email or flier.
Consider inviting representatives from local community
colleges and universities to set up information booths.
Offer translation and interpretation services for families.
Consider asking students or family members to be
Create family packets or resource stations and include a
place to take notes. Consider lending out pencils or pens to
those who forgot their own.
Begin with a welcome and overview.
The new standards will improve student achievement over
time as teachers and students get used to the new standards
and tests. Reports of fewer students meeting grade-level
expectations don’t necessarily mean that schools are
performing worse or that students are learning less.
Explain the shift to new standards and PARCC using a
PowerPoint or video.
Address anxieties that come with change but set a positive
tone throughout the night. Focus on how these changes
will benefit students and prepare them for college and
Consider inviting representatives from postsecondary
institutions and the local business community to talk about
how the new standards prepare students for success in
college and careers. Again, highlight the college and
career ready determination and explain how it impacts
their student’s transition to college and careers.
Encourage families to write down their questions to ask
during small group sessions, at the information booths or
to record in the parking lot.
Make families feel welcome!
Just like you do with your students, greet families at the
door and direct them to the right place. Ask student
volunteers to help.
Tips for hosting a PARCC family night in High School
After the overview, consider moving families to classrooms
for smaller group presentations.
students know they are on track before they graduate,
the PARCC assessment opens the door to college and
careers and gives them a direct ticket to enter creditbearing courses. (We will have more information on
this topic coming soon.)
Smaller groups can help families feel more comfortable
asking questions and can give them an opportunity to learn
more information about how they can help their individual
student. Consider breaking up the groups according to
students’ grade levels to better address questions about
coursework transitions and required tests.
• PARCC as a tool for college readiness session: Create
a special session in which parents and families can
discuss how the results of the PARCC tests will benefit
their children. This session may focus on the use of
scores for course placement and additional
opportunities that might be available for students to
speed up or catch up. Make the connection to other
facets of the college preparation process like identifying
colleges or other postsecondary options, important
financial aid information and deadlines that are relevant
to older students.
Examples of small group sessions include:
Family members become the students. Demonstrate
how new standards are implemented in the classroom by
delivering a lesson to the parents and family members.
Consider grouping attendees by subject or grade. Ask
family members to share how they solve problems or
reason through the lesson just like you do with your
Homework help role playing. Ask for parent and
student volunteers to role play working through a
challenging homework assignment. Remind families that
they do not have to be an expert in a subject to help with
homework. Families should stay positive and value
productive struggle as natural and necessary to learning.
Highlight online resources that students and families can
use to help with challenging content.
Student-led sessions: Have students show families how
they would complete a short assignment or PARCC
practice test item. Moderate the session and remain
available as a resource to the students.
Take the test sessions: Offer parents and families the
opportunity to take a PARCC practice test using the
same format (tablet, desktop or pencil and paper) as their
student. If your school is using the computer-based
assessment, show families the technology tutorial and
explain how your school is incorporating technology into
the classroom. If your school is using the paper-based
assessment, share your school or district’s plan to shift to
Score report review: Show families a sample score
report, and provide a walk through on what kind of
information will be displayed on different parts of the
report. Discuss what information is useful to have about
their students and why. Consider showing them ways in
which you will use this information to help their students
in the classroom. Provide sample questions that family
members can ask teachers about their student’s progress.
Remind parents that by letting
Offer continued support beyond the family night event.
Provide resources and information about who parents
should contact if they have questions.
Offer to host an “Understanding the Score Report” night in
late spring. More resources, including a video, will be
available later this year.
Check with your local or state PTA and other PARCC
partners to see if they have webinars or other parent
information nights to share with attendees.