PARCC in Massachusetts

One teacher's attempt to connect with other educators across Massachusetts and beyond and provide relevant, up-to-date, and sometime helpful information on next generation assessments, common core state standards implementation, and college and career ready initiatives

PARCC Assessment System, part I

In the morning session Educator Leader Cadre (ELC) members were given an overview of the PARCC assessment system with some of the already released information, but also some new pieces as well.  This part will just be an overview, but I think I need to split it into several posts.  So, I don’t know how many parts there will be, but there are going to be at least three!  Part 2 will be ELA specific, and part 3 will be math specific.

Overview of the Assessment System

PARCC assessment system spans Grades 3-11 (there is a k-2 optional formative assessment that will also be developed) and includes a variety of components some of which are required and others that are optional, some that are summative and others that are not, some totally machine-scored while others are both machine-scored and human scored.  I will try to outline below these different components and the information that I have about them as of today.

Here is the general outline of the five components (all computer-delivered):

  • Two summative, required assessment components (Performance Based Assessment-PBA and End-of-Year Assessment in diagram below) designed to:
    • Make “college- and career-readiness” and “on-track” determinations,
    • Measure the full range of standards and full performance continuum, and
    • Provide data for accountability uses, including measures of growth.
  • Two non-summative, optional assessment components (Diagnostic Assessment and Mid-Year Assessment in diagram below) designed to:
    • Generate timely information for informing instruction, interventions, and professional development during the school year.
  • A third non-summative component in English language arts/literacy will assess students’ speaking and listening skills

Here is a picture of the overall assessment system with the five components:

Further specifics on the two required summative assessment components:

  • Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) administered as close to the end of the school year as possible, but still allowing for human scoring of items to occur.  The ELA/literacy PBA will focus on writing effectively when analyzing text.  The mathematics PBA will focus on applying skills, concepts, and understandings to solve multi-step problems requiring abstract reasoning, precision, perseverance and strategic use of tools.
  • End-of-Year Assessment (EOY) administered after approximately 90% of the school year.  The ELA/literacy will focus on reading comprehension and the math EOY will be comprised of innovative, machine-scorable items.

PARCC General Design Principles

PARCC is using Evidence-Centered Design to develop the assessments.  A good summary of what this means and why it was chosen by both testing consortia can be found in the ETS Report Coming Together.  Here are a couple summative quotes  from that report.

“First , identify the claims you want to make about students, next determine what evidence could be used to support these claims, and then develop assessment tasks which will optimize all students’ opportunity to provide such evidence.” (p.48)

“By identifying focal knowledge skills and/or abilities (KSAs), making claims explicit, and specifying acceptable forms of evidence, ECD-based frameworks can provide classroom teachers with a deeper, clearer picture of the types of work their students can do to demonstrate their mastery of standards like those in the CCSS . Ideally, the ECD frameworks can help teachers think through what types of tasks their students should complete, and identify the features they should be looking for when evaluating their students’ work.” (p. 49)

The keyword in today’s conversation was on “evidence.”  Evidence was defined as what one can point to, highlight, and/or underline in a student product that shows they know the standards being assessed.  This evidence that will be gathered through the PARCC assessments will be new and different, because the claims and the tasks will be different than the assessments that states currently have in operation.  One emphasis of the meeting was understanding that the computer-based, novel tasks being designed and the presence of a performance based component within the assessment system makes the type of evidence being gathered radically different.  In other words, the PARCC assessment system will be able to gather a greater diversity of evidence through the variety, quality, and nature of the tasks being developed on a computer-based delivery system.  The next two posts will be outlining the specific claims that were developed for ELA and mathematics and what sort of tasks are being developed to elicit specific evidence of those claims.  Please find a picture of the three stage design process given to us today:


3 comments on “PARCC Assessment System, part I

  1. Pingback: PARCC Assessment System and ELA, Part 2 « PARCC in Massachusetts

  2. Pingback: PARCC Assessment System and Math, Part 3 « PARCC in Massachusetts

  3. Pingback: What should districts (states) do with PARCC? « PARCC in Massachusetts

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This entry was posted on July 25, 2012 by in ELC Chicago July 2012.

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The opinion expressed within each post is my own and is not a reflection of the Massachusetts' Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, PARCC, or any other body.

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