2015 PARCC Training Sessions

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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

Registration Instructions

As space is limited, participants must register by Thursday, January 15, by completing the registration form posted at

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.

Cancellation Policy

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 or 781-338-3625.




Common Themes from the PARCC Summit

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PARCC Summit.001Over 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.

PARCC Summit Details

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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:






Event Sold Out

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The Massachusetts PARCC Summit is now sold out. Please check back to this site for updates about the event and to see if more tickets are released. The full event schedule will be posted soon.

Announcing: Mass PARCC Summit

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We are excited to announce a unique opportunity to learn from educators and technology practitioners who have experienced the PARCC online assessments first hand. Along with members of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, these practitioners will be leading sessions, discussions, and hands-on demonstrations to help support Massachusetts’ schools implementing or considering online PARCC assessments.

The Massachusetts PARCC Summit will be a FREE operational boot camp with sessions for school administrators, technology directors, IT professionals, data managers, student information directors, curriculum directors, and teachers. The sessions will be led by members of the Burlington and Revere Public Schools who completed extensive field tests last year, as well as ESE staff who are experts in the PARCC online assessments.

Registration is now open for this FREE event. The event will be held at Marshall Simonds Middle School in Burlington, Massachusetts on December 4, 2014 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Eventbrite - Massachusetts PARCC Summit

The event schedule will be posted soon. Session topics will include:

– PARCC’s Effect on Your School
– Building Your Technology Infrastructure
– Scheduling and Staffing for Online Assessments
– Student Information and Data
– Devices: iPads, Chromebooks, MacOS, and PCs
– Proctor Caching
– Accommodations and Accessibility
– Pearson Access Updates

Considerations for Selecting PARCC

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A recent conference call hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education discussed the considerations for districts deciding to choose PARCC computer based testing for Spring 2015. The call and a detailed presentation are included in the video below.