Friday, April 4, 2014


PARCC is, it is the Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers.  This is a " set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers." 

Students take computer based tests in math and language arts twice during the year; once after 75% of the year has passed and again after 90% of the year has passed.  The first assessment is performance based and has short and extended answered and requires essays and conceptual knowledge.  The second assessment, the end of year is mostly short answered and skill based. 

Discussions started in 2010 with 23 states including the District of Columbia.  Now in Spring of 2014 when field testing is occurring participating states are down to 16 and the District of Columbia.

I feel lucky enough to work in a district that is well prepared for this test.  The computer lab I teach in has newer iMacs and the school shares carts of iPad 2s. Our network is well equipped and can handle testing more students than my school has.  Unfortunately this is not true for all of New Jersey, or all of the states participating.

Switching from a paper and pencil test to a computer-based test was/is nerve-wrecking.
  • Will the students scores reflect their knowledge or their computer skills?
  • Will the different technology effect how they respond to questions?
  • Are they strong enough typers at grade 3/4 to type short answers and an essay?
  • Will the students copy information from the screen to their scrap paper correctly? Will they then copy their answers correctly back to the computer?
This week I learned that the technology does effect the students responses.  When asked to write a long response students were given a small box so they're responses reflected that.

PARCC has provided computer based sample questions for students to practice on.

Keyboarding has been a BIG concern at the young grades, the grades I teach. Here we have had students in grades 2-4 typing away weekly on Type to Learn 4.  This is a HUGE upgrade from what we did before (see below) and students have shown improvement all around.

Before getting Type to Learn students used to type in different programs when they would finish an assignment or as a class in-between assignments if their class was ahead of the other classes in their grade.  We used:

The other tools PARCC offers a tutorial for all the tools in their test: Students can highlight during the text, flag questions to return to, eliminate answer choices,  and easily review and go back to any question on the test. The students seemed to fair well though we did not take the math section so we did not have to deal with the math tools.

While the issues I had were few and far between, a quick power outage, trouble connecting to server briefly, or having to logout and back in, I think we may have just been well prepared.  I can only hope everyone had it this well, but I know that us not true. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


If you are teaching in a state that has adopted Common Core, this site, Graphite, is going to be a great resource:

Graphite finds apps and websites that align with the Common Core Standards.  It is extremely simple to use.

This site is great because:

  1. You search by Common Core Standard.
  2. Apps and websites are reviewed by their specialists and by teachers

The homepage looks like this:

Select Mathematics or Language Arts, then the grade, and the Common Core subject. Below is a sample of fourth grade writing.

Each standard has a number of apps or websites connected to it.  A column on the right shows you how many products are available for each standard.  You can view them in the same window, the tools will be shown below the standard, or open them in a new window.

Each app or website offers a quick description, price, Learning Rating, and some offer a Teacher Rating.  Click on the title and you will receive more detailed information.  The detailed information provides the others standards this tool can be used for, as its pros and cons, and its levels of engagement, pedagogy, and support.

Teachers are struggling with implementing both technology and Common Core and this is such a great tool for infusing them together.
Graphite has compiled what they think are the best Math and ELA tools. Click the links to view: ELA and Math

Don't forget to SHARE this amazing resource