Testing the Test – Rennie Center Case Study

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1Thank 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.

Testing the Test: A Study of PARCC Field Tests in Two School Districts

Testing the Test: Executive Summary

Rennie Center PARCC Computer Based Technical Resources Guide


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