JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi teachers, along with teachers in 18 states and the District of Columbia, have new resources to help them prepare their students for upcoming field tests. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) has posted sample test items for every grade on the testing platform students will use when taking the field test later this spring.
This means teachers, students, parents and others will be able to try out the sample items using computer-based tools such as drag-and-drop, multiple select, text highlighting, and an equation builder. PARCC also released online tutorials that demonstrate how students will navigate the test; how to use the computer-based tools; and features that make the test more accessible for all students, including those with disabilities and English learners.
“This is an excellent educational opportunity for our students and teachers to have hands-on experience with the PARCC platform. This preview of the fully functional test times will help familiarize our students and teachers with the computer-based system and the kinds of test questions that will be on the PARCC test,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent. “Also, the field test this spring gives Mississippi the chance to play a major role in the development of our state’s test.”
The sample items were available previously as downloadable printouts. The sample items have gone through a rigorous review process to ensure they are of high quality and are similar to the types of items students will see when the test is fully operational in spring 2015. The sample items are available at www.parcconline.org/computer-based-samples. To experience the full range of item types and functionality, users are encouraged to try out items across all grades and also to provide feedback as part of PARCC’s continuous improvement process.
“The educational value and the quality of the test items really becomes evident when you see the items on the technology platform they were intended for,” said Laura Slover, PARCC’s chief executive officer. “These new assessments are tied to more rigorous expectations for students that will prepare them for success after high school in college or careers.
The PARCC assessments represent a range of more rigorous and engaging test items—from a new take on traditional multiple choice style questions aided by technology to longer tasks that ask students to show their understanding.”
In reading and writing, students will have to show they can read and understand complex passages, write persuasively, and present findings based on research. In math, they will have to show their work and demonstrate they understand a concept, rather than simply memorize a formula; they will have to apply math knowledge to real-world problems.
The field tests, slated to begin March 24. In Mississippi, dozens of educators have worked on the development of the PARCC assessments. James Mason, MDE’s state assessment director, serves as the chair of the PARCC State Leadership Committee, and Vinnie Segalini, MDE’s English Language Arts director, serves as the chair of the PARCC English Language Arts Operational Working Group.
The PARCC assessment will be field tested in 512 Mississippi schools in 139 school districts, representing about 87,000 students. Hundreds of educators from all of the participating states have been instrumental in developing and reviewing the test items. Students and schools will not be scored on the field tests, which are designed to make sure test items and the technology function correctly, and to work out any glitches that might occur.
Approximately 1.2 million students from the PARCC states – roughly 10 percent of students in grades 3 through 11 across the consortium — will participate in the field test this spring. All students in the PARCC states will have access to practice tests this spring so that students not participating in the field test can become familiar with the types of test items and the functionality of the online testing.