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PUBLIC PARCC: Common Core State Standards Assessment Consortium Releases New Sample Test Items

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“These rich questions and authentic student tasks get to the heart of the standards and will give us more insight into student reasoning and understanding than current standardized tests.”

Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which spell out what students should know and be able to do at each grade level. Two consortia of states, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, are developing assessments that are intended to measure student performance against the CCSS.

On November 6, PARCC released new sample test items, making public exemplar test items across the grades in both mathematics and English language arts in an effort to provide information about the assessment system and support educators as they transition to the CCSS and the PARCC tests. Schools are scheduled to field-test the assessments in spring 2014 and roll them out formally in the 2014–15 school year.

“As a teacher, I am extremely impressed with the sample items released by PARCC,” said Amy Spies, Florida PARCC Educator Leader Cadre member and middle school teacher. “These rich questions and authentic student tasks get to the heart of the standards and will give us more insight into student reasoning and understanding than current standardized tests.”

Later this year, PARCC will make all of its sample items available on the PARCC technology platform, providing an opportunity for students and teachers to try out the assessment system in the manner in which it will be administered.

While the consortia have worked to develop these new assessments, the Alliance has hosted a series of webinars updating their progress and enabling leaders from the consortia to share information and respond to questions from the public. Archived video from these webinars is available via the links below:

  • April 4, 2011: The consortia’s leaders lay out their designs and plans for the assessments.
  • September 13, 2011: The consortia discussed their efforts to help districts and states implement the CCSS and make the transition to the new assessments.
  • March 1, 2012: An examination of the consortia’s content frameworks and technology plans.
  • October 2, 2012: A discussion of the consortia’s efforts to engage educators to prepare them for the new assessments.
  • August 29, 2013: An update on the consortia’s progress and a discussion of challenges they face as they near the 2014–15 school year.

All of PARCC’s sample test items are available at
http://www.parcconline.org/samples/item-task-prototypes.

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