Ready or Not.....Here We Go!
PARCC Spring 2015 Testing: What We Know
As the days pass by this year, many teachers across the state are feeling the pressure of the PARCC testing dates getting closer. Please remember that this year is an opportunity for us to learn together so that we can better prepare our students in the future. Based on the field test, several changes were made over the summer and continue to be made this semester. Here are some of the findings of the field test:
1. Technology system platform worked well.
2. Students took less time than anticipated.
3. Practice tests and tutorials set students up for success.
4. Test administration manuals need refinement.
Because of these results, changes were made to the amount of time allowable for each student unit. These changes will be seen in the schedules that your School Testing Coordintator will provide to you. In addition, more resources and practice opportunities are being provided through PEARSON for both educators and students. Manuals are still being actively updated and will be availalbe to us in January 2015.
We are all in this together! To help relieve some of your anxieties, here are a few pieces of helpful information:
1. Teacher Training. Your LPSD Test Coordinators attended a PARCC training hosted by the Arkansas Department of Education and the Office of Student Assessment on November 21. In addition, Test Coordinators recently attended a PARCC work session at our local Coop. Our team of testing coordinators will meet before the holiday break to review any updated information and make plans for all of our campuses in regards to testing schedules, procedures and address any unanswered questions. In late January to early February, School Testing Coordinators will receive Test Administration training from the ADE and Pearson. At this point, we will be given training materials and the most up to date information to give to you, our Test Administrators. As soon as we have this info, you will be seeing it! Don't worry.....we are going to walk you through this process!
2. New Vocabulary. Gone are the days of Benchmark and this can be observed by the new language that is being used within the PARCC test. Here is a quick overview of changes: 1) Administration. This refers to either Performance-Based Assessment or End of Year. 2) Session. This refers to the grouping of students. It is also composed of units (which we will define next). 3) Unit. This defines a specific unit of testing. For example, it might include a Literary Analysis Unit or Research Stimularion Unit. So, start trying to use these terms now with each other and with your students. It will help you feel more comfortable when testing begins.
3. MORE time, but FEWER questions. If you participated in the Spring 2014 PARCC Field test, you are familiar with the number of questions in each unit. After careful consideration, a change was made to decrease the number of questions in each unit, but allow the same amount of time as was given during the Field test.
4. Timekeeper. Don't forget that the computer DOES NOT keep the testing time! Each Test Administrator will be in charge of this.
5. Last, but not LEAST.....The best resource you can have is http://parcc-test.pearson.com. Write it down. Memorize it. Bookmark it. Become familiar with the TEST PREPARATION link and also familiarize your students with it!
WHEN is PARCC?
Why We Are Excited About PARCC?
As with any new program or assessment, there is an unsettled fear of the unknown. However, PARCC does have some great new features that we hope will benefit our entire LPSD student population. One of the biggest changes is the use of Accessibility Features. These are operational features for ALL students taking the online exam. Students will be allowed to use these features through practice sessions and tutorials in preparation for PARCC testing so they will be familiar with each. Features include audio amplification, eliminate answer choices, flag items for review, general masking, highlight tool, line reader tool, spell checker, magnification, as well as others. Students will have the choice to use any or none of the features. Accessibility of these does not require an IEP, 504 plan or LPAC plan.......which is GREAT for our kids!
Our teachers will also have the opportunity to help develop Personal Needs Profiles (PNP) on all of our students. The PNP will allow students to receive even more accessibility features if this need is identified prior to testing and documented on that student's PNP. This will allow us to meet more student needs. Each of your Testing Coordinators will be meeting with you about the development of your students' Personal Needs Profiles soon.
And the most important reason why we like PARCC is NO MORE testing booklets and answer documents. You will still be required to keep certain documents secure throughout the testing process, but no more counting booklets or answer documents. Yay!