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.
Thank you to the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy for this important update about the completion of a case study of the 2014 PARCC field tests in Massachusetts. The entire case study, executive summary, and Rennie Center PARCC Technical Resources Guide are posted below.
As schools around the Commonwealth dig out from the snow and await the start of spring, they are also planning for the annual administration of statewide assessments, which begins later this month for students in grades 3-8 and high school. This year, according to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, grade 3-8 students in 54% of Massachusetts districts (approximately 220,000 students in all) will be taking assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) rather than the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). Many of these students will be taking computer-based PARCC exams on computers and devices.
Last spring, when these computer-based tests were piloted in selected classrooms across the country, two Massachusetts districts—Burlington Public Schools and Revere Public Schools—opted for a district- or school-wide trial of the new tests. These districts gained crucial information on implementation issues such as technology use and device adaptability, scheduling and staffing of test administration, and students’ experience taking computer-based tests.
The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy conducted a case study of the implementation and administration of computer-based PARCC assessments in the Burlington and Revere School Districts during the spring 2014 PARCC field test. The findings from our report offer detailed information on how both Burlington and Revere planned for and carried out PARCC testing, as well as how they addressed unforeseen challenges. We hope this case study will inform district and state leaders as they move forward with test administration this year and plan for the future of assessments in Massachusetts.
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 (updated) 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.
PARCC test administrators have many responsibilities and supporting classroom teachers in the assessment process is an important part of these responsibilities. District leaders should make an effort to provide teachers with great information so that any anxiety about PARCC is alleviated.
From the Teched Up Teacher blog
Teachers everywhere have a ton on their plate, but administering the PARCC shouldn’t be something that you worry about. It’s not bad. To prove it, I’ve made a new video to show teachers who are “lucky” enough to administer PARCC what to expect.
The recent update for iPad iOS (8.1.3) includes several important features for PARCC assessments. In fact, these features were added by Apple specifically to support “configuration options for education standardized testing.” The features include the ability to disable the dictionary, QuickType predictive keyboard, AutoCorrection, and spell check for supervised devices. Schools using Mobile Device Management systems should consult their providers regarding the ability to globally change disable these iPad features for PARCC testing.
All iPads being used in PARCC testing this year should be updated to 8.1.3 and the most recent version of the TestNav app.
This New Mexico Public Education Department site provides PARCC trial information and resources. The site highlights some know issues with the system and provides details to fix when available. The site contains how to guides and planning materials.
From the Support Site of the New Mexico Public Education Department
This site reports all known issues with the PARCC System Check, including errors that need to be addressed as well as those that show up but do not interfere with running TestNav. This includes known issues with solutions that have been validated, and known issues for which we need solutions to be validated. Please visit the appropriate discussion area, on the left.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be offering additional training sessions for the 2015 PARCC test administration. Participants can select from remote or face -to-face sessions. As a member of the Burlington Public Schools team that implemented a PARCC Field Test last year, I strongly recommend participating in one of the training sessions – especially if you were not able to attend the Massachusetts PARCC Summit in December.
From the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:
Up to three individuals per district may attend a face-to-face session, including the district education technology coordinator and the district PARCC test coordinator (i.e., the superintendent’s designee who will then train all other individuals in the district). For a remote session, districts may invite several additional staff members—including school-level staff—to participate together in a room. Principals and school staff in your district are not receiving this email; please share with them if you would like them to participate in a remote session with you.
Note that lunch and refreshments are not being provided at the face-to-face sessions. A list of area restaurants will be provided at the check-in table, and an option to purchase lunch at the venue will be available. We anticipate breaking for lunch around 12:30 p.m.
Districts doing computer-based testing or paper-based testing should participate in the first portion of the presentation (likely ending early afternoon), and districts doing computer-based testing only should also plan to stay for the remainder of the afternoon. We recognize that the session will be a full day; if an individual can only participate in part of the day, it is most important for the district PARCC test coordinator to participate in the first portion of the presentation and for the district education technology coordinator to participate in the second portion.
The first portion will cover the following topics:
- Test security and administration protocols
- Test administration schedule
- Guidelines for testing times
- Roles and responsibilities
- Administration tasks before, during, and after testing
- Accessibility and accommodations for ELL students and students with disabilities
The second portion will include the following topics to prepare districts doing computer-based testing:
- Technology readiness and setup
- Technology guidelines
- Technology requirements categories
- Devices, operating system, and browser specifications
- School planning
- PearsonAccess Next
- Online testing management
- TestNav Early Warning System
- Infrastructure trials
- Who should be involved
As space is limited, participants must register by Thursday, January 15, by completing the registration form posted at http://www.cvent.com/d/grqmwc.
When completing the registration online, you will be prompted to print a confirmation of your registration. Please note that only confirmed registrants will be guaranteed access to remote sessions and admission to face-to-face sessions.
Instructions on accessing the remote sessions is forthcoming.
In case of severe weather conditions, face-to-face sessions will be canceled if the district in which the training is scheduled to take place cancels school for the day. If there is a delayed opening for schools in the district, the training will take place as scheduled. The remote sessions will be canceled only if a state of emergency has been declared for Massachusetts, as participants access the session from their own locations. An email will be sent confirming the session cancellation.
If you have any questions or need further support, please contact the Department at email@example.com or 781-338-3625.
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.