We've fielded a lot of questions recently about the PARCC online assessments, including:
- "How do they work?"
- "What do students need to know?"
- "When will the consortium release new info regarding...?, etc."
The answers to these questions are often available, but they may not be common knowledge. With that in mind, here's a rundown of the newest PARCC news and information we felt required sharing:
PARCC puts out bids for various technical aspects
According to a new Education Week article, the folks at PARCC recently requested bids for the tests, specifically to establish a platform for delivering the tests and developing a data management and storage system. PARCC is referring to these requests as a technology bundle, and this bundle comes with quite a price tag approximately $17 million.
It's important to note this technology bundle doesnt include analytics. Also, the PARCC wont release the specific bid awards until December. The short time between now and the scheduled testing roll-out in 2014 may present a crunched time period for the creation, testing, and operation of these elements.
The need for test modeling and practice becomes more apparent
The new bid requests are not the only recent development ifor the PARCC assessments. Teachers and administrators we interact with are noting the new need for their students to be able to satisfactorily use tablets and computers. This, in turn, may require additional instruction in basic keyboarding, testing functionality, and word-processing.
While teachers and administrators arent reluctant to ensure that students are digitally literate, finding the time and resources for that instruction can add to the challenge. The value of teaching digital literacy is something we've discussed before and will be increasingly imporant as the online Common Core tests arrive.
States exit from PARCC testing obligations
By combining info from a recent Education Week article and Getting Smart blog post, we've identified seven former PARCC member states (Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana Utah, Georgia, and Oklahoma) have either exited the Consortium or are awaiting a final decision.
However, this defection hasnt seen widespread acceptance. According to the Massachusetts education Commissioner Mitchell Chester, the PARCC tests will be "ready on time". Rhode Island's education Commissioner Deborah Gist also reaffirmed her state's choice to stay the course with PARCC, mentioning that the online Common Core-based tests will be "worth taking" because they require students to solve "real-world problems, apply knowledge, show their work, and explain their answers."