Latest Event Updates
This site will provide information regarding the implementation of PARCC in Massachusetts schools. The site will highlight the experiences of students, teachers, administrators, technology professionals, and test developers as the PARCC assessments are introduced to schools in our state.
The information will also highlight the progress of two specific PARCC field tests happening in Burlington Public Schools and Revere Public Schools. Members of implementation teams from both districts along with students and teachers will provide details about their PARCC experiences.
Please visit the pages for educator, student, and technology questions. Discussions and comments are welcome during the PARCC trial. Each page has a comment/question box that will be monitored by members of the Massachusetts PARCC Trial groups.
The document linked below from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provides instructions and examples for schools updating their Student Registration Files for grades 3−8 in the spring 2015 PARCC Performance-Based Assessment (PBA).
Instructions for schools updating Student Registration Files for grades 9 and/or 11 students participating in the spring 2015 PARCC PBA will be forthcoming.
If you have any questions or need further support, please contact the PARCC Help Center at 888-493-9888 (Monday–Friday, 6:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.) or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact the Department at email@example.com or 781-338-3625.
Districts implementing the PARCC online assessments have the option to either live stream or proctor cache test data. Burlington and Revere Public Schools tested these options during the 2014 Field Test. Burlington live streamed all sessions while Revere used a proctor caching server.
What is proctor caching?
From the Texas Assessment site for PearsonAccess:
Proctor caching refers to pre-caching (downloading) test content from the Pearson testing server to a secure “local” computer prior to starting a test session. Because test content exists on the local network, the demand for external (Internet) bandwidth for online testing is reduced. With proctor caching, if your Internet “goes down” during testing, your students still have access to test content and can continue testing while your technicians resolve your Internet connection issue.
While Burlington and Revere had positive results, technology administrators in both districts recommend that most schools use the proctor caching option. One challenge though will be districts that lack connectivity between multiple school sites. These districts will need to set up caching servers at each location.
The document posted below is step by step set up guide for building a proctor caching Windows sever. Thank you to Jon Ferrara, IT Manager from Revere Public Schools, who has created the guide. Jon set up the proctor caching for Revere and found the installation to be relatively simple process. Revere had good results using the server during PARCC assessments.
Schools should now begin to look at scheduling options for the 2015 PARCC assessments. While there are many factors to consider when developing PARCC schedules, the most important is session time. The 2015 PARCC assessments feature changes to the session times for Performance Based and End of Year tests. Schools should create schedules using the Unit Time for each session.
The Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy is completing an extensive research study of the 2014 PARCC Field Tests in Massachusetts. The study focuses on the field tests in Burlington and Revere Public Schools. The full report will be posted here on the Massachusetts PARCC Trial site.
The following is an important document from the study. The Technical Resources Guide provides key information about how Burlington and Revere planned for and implemented PARCC assessments for over 3000 students.
From the Rennie Center Technical Resources Guide:
This technical resource guide examines decision-making in five key areas: technology infrastructure, device use, scheduling, staffing, and student information management. It provides below a series of key questions and potential actions for local education leaders to consider when planning for PARCC implementation at scale.
The following are presentations from the Massachusetts PARCC Summit held on December 4, 2014. The presentations are available to view or download in PDF format.
Over 500 educators and school technology professionals attended the Massachusetts PARCC Summit in Burlington on December 4. The event included a keynote from Commissioner Mitchell Chester and sessions designed to help prepare schools for implementing the digital PARCC assessments. Members of the Burlington, Revere, and Boston Public Schools presented about their experiences with the 2014 PARCC Field Tests. Several other sessions were presented by members of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Several common themes were evident throughout the day. These are important factors to consider when planning for the digital PARCC assessments.
- Regardless of your plans for PARCC, districts must commit to making decisions about technology that focus on instructional goals first. This message was highlighted by presenters from Burlington and Revere. Unfortunately, it is clear that many districts are feeling pressure to prepare for online assessments and that pressure is guiding their decisions about technology purchasing. There is no perfect PARCC device. There is no perfect device for instructional use. Schools must consider many factors beyond PARCC when deciding what to purchase.
- PARCC implementation takes a team effort. Members of the Burlington and Revere teams discussed how collaboration and planning was key to the success of their field tests. The planning required significant time and flexibility on the part of IT departments, administrators, and teachers.
- Some school departments that were not involved in MCAS (or other standardized tests) may now be heavily involved in PARCC implementation. This includes student information departments and is most evident for technology teams. Technology staff will need to work collaboratively with educational staff in order to implement the assessments effectively. This again requires a team effort. It is clear that the implementation of PARCC in Burlington and Revere was a direct result of the partnership between technology and educational teams.
- Don’t prepare for PARCC in isolation. Seek the support of other districts. Collaborative efforts between school districts will help create more successful and less stressful implementations. School leaders should try to connect with others who are have already implemented a field test or those who are planning to in 2015. We work in isolation far too often in education. This isolation needs to break down in order to support the instructional growth of our schools and the implementation of PARCC.
Finally and perhaps most importantly – all of these common themes are actually best practices for anything related to creating the best educational environments in our schools. These are actions that should be in place all the time – not just during the implementation of PARCC.
The Massachusetts PARCC Summit will take place on Thursday, December 4 at Marshall Simonds Middle School in Burlington, Massachusetts. Here are some of the important event details including a link to the online event schedule: