Impact of School Characteristics on PARCC Results

Lina Smulkaitis, J. Christopher Tweddle


The purpose of this article is to take an in-depth look at how certain non-academic factors affect standardized test results in the middle school setting.  As standardized testing and student growth impact school and teacher evaluation, it is important to consider the influence of factors both inside and outside of the classroom. This study analyzed the impact on student performance on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam of the following variables: property taxes received by schools; instructional spending per pupil; percentage of low-income students; percentage of student mobility; percentage of English Language Learners (ELL); teacher salary, retention rates, and education; and class size. This analysis was based on data gathered from the Illinois State Report Card published by the Illinois State Board of Education on 374 of the 376 grade 6--8 middle schools located in Illinois. The three strongest predictors of the success rate for middle school age students on the PARCC exam were the student mobility rate, the amount of property tax received by the school, and the percentage of low-income students. Instructional spending per pupil, percentage of English Language Learners, teacher retention rate, salary and education, and class size had a less significant impact on students meeting or exceeding standards on the PARCC exam. This suggests that the socioeconomic demographics of the surrounding community are a contributing factor to student success.


Illinois; PARCC; poverty; mobility; ELL; school funding; low SES; teacher retention; class size; academic success

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