It seems like we have always had some sort of state test to take. The tests have had a lot of different names -MSA, HSA, CTBS, ITBS. Not to mention the high school pre-college ones like PSAT, SAT, AP, ACT or ASVAB for military careers. It’s good to have some measure of student progress based upon standards that are challenging and achievable.
Next week we start the PARCC – Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. There are 12 states plus Washington, D.C. involved in the partnership that developed this test. The PARCC website says, “These states came together through a shared commitment to develop a new way of testing – far more rigorous than in the past, far more engaging for students and far better suited to measuring student understanding, reasoning and ability to apply concepts.
By working together, the PARCC states can collectively design a more high-quality assessment that builds a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from third grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support.”
There are 20 other states in a similar partnership. Their test is called Smarter Balanced.
Schedules for getting students tested will be a big part of the school environment for the next month or so. Grades 3-11 will take part – some more than others. Your average 4th grader will spend up to 150 minutes testing in Math and 225 minutes testing in English Language Arts/Literacy in what is called the Performance Based Assessment. Then there will be another 150 minutes for the EOY (End of Year). Most tests will be taken via computer. A few at middle and high school will be paper/pencil.
It’s all new and practice tests show that it is very challenging. No doubt there is some anxiety for staff and students. How will we do? We shall see.
Any time there is a new test, there is an expectation that our students won’t be as successful as in the past. We also have an expectation that Calvert will do better than most. But, we must be patient with ourselves and recognize that this first administration of the PARCC will be a learning experience for all. Our teachers have been working hard for a few years to design instruction and assessments that represent these new challenging standards. It will generate some base-line data that, given Calvert County Public Schools’ history, we will learn from and build upon to show improvement the next time.
There is no book on how to do well on the PARCC. It is just that new. Maybe we’ll write it.
We shall see.
To learn more and even take a practice test go to: