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. 

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