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PARCC FAQ’s for Parents

Here you will find answers to the questions most commonly asked about the PARCC test

 

Question: Why is Lumberton administering the PARCC assessment?

Answer: The state of New Jersey has had statewide assessments since the 1970’s. In addition the Elementary School Education Act (ESEA), recently reapproved as the Every Student Succeeds Act requires states to test students in grades three through eight.  Federal funds are tied to this requirement.  If a district fails to test a minimum of 95% of its students in grades three through eight, federal money that serves as an important and essential supplement to the district budget will be withheld.

In the 2014-2015 school year, the state of New Jersey transitioned from NJ ASK to PARCC.  The PARCC was created by the state of New Jersey and other states to more accurately measure academic standards in mathematics and English language arts.

 

Question: How do the PARCC scores compare to the NJ ASK scores?

Answer: Because the PARCC assessment is designed to assess more rigorous standards and require a greater  level of critical thinking, results have been lower across the state than those achieved on the NJ ASK in prior years.  As students continue to receive instruction aligned to the newer standards and become more comfortable with the online platform, we expect that scores will increase.

Question: What is the PARCC test like?

Answer: The test does include some multiple choice questions.  However, the types of questions being asked are not what we traditionally expect.  For example, students are asked to identify parts of a text that support an answer they have chosen.  In some cases, they are asked to choose several answers from a list, selecting the ones that are the best choices.  They may be asked to  put key events in sequence or to match details with a main idea or theme that they support.  Other test items ask students to produce a written response that explains how they solved a math problem or answer a question about a text they have read.  They are asked to write a longer response that analyzes a text. Finally, there is a portion that requires students to write an essay or narratice that is several paragraphs in length.

Question: What changes have been made in PARCC for this year?

Answer: In 2015, there were two different test periods, the Performance Based assessment administered in March, and the End-of-Year assessment administered in April- May.  As a response to feedback recieved, the PARCC consortium reduced this to a single test period and also reduced the length of the total test.  This year, the test will be administered in April and May.  The total number of units will range from 6 to 7, depending on the grade. Again, depending on their grade, students will spend between 4 and 7 days testing.  Testing will take place in the mornings only, with each unit lasting 45-90 minutes.  You can view a schedule for each grade on the 2016 PARCC Schedule page.

 

Question: How is PARCC different from the previous test, NJ ASK?

Answer:

  •  PARCC more accurately measures skills in critical thinking and problem-solving, which are important to success in school and beyond.
  •  PARCC provides parents with more meaningful information about their child’s achievement  and how it compares to that of other students at that grade level within the district, across the state, and among  all the PARCC states. 
  •  The information provided to the district is also more beneficial.  It is detailed enough to enable us to more accurately pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in our curriculum and instruction and to develop personalized support and/or additional challenge for students.

Question: How “High-Stakes” is PARCC?

Answer:

  • PARCC  scores do not determine whether a child in New Jersey  is promoted to the next grade.
  • Previously, our district included NJ Ask scores as one measure of student achievement in making decisions regarding eligibility for programs to address student needs, such as the Gifted and Talented Program, Honors classes in grades 5-8, and Title I support. Other measures include  classroom performance, report cards, district benchmark assessments and, in the case of the Gifted and Talented program, the results of other standardized tests.

 

QuestionDoes the Lumberton School District “teach to the test”?

Answer:

  •  PARCC is designed to assess student mastery of the state’s standards for the end of each grade.  The Lumberton curriculum is aligned to those standards.  Therefore, we are confident that providing quality instruction based on the curriculum will prepare students to perform well without “teaching to the test”.  Furthermore, because the assessment measures students’ ability to think critically and apply skills and concepts, it is not really possible to “teach to the test”.
  •  That being said, we do recognize the importance of preparing students to show what they know on a computer platform.  We do ensure they have opportunities prior to the start of the test to do some practice through the Pearson website.

 

Question: What if there are technology problems during the test?

Answer: The district uses caching to ensure that student test responses are not lost in the event of lost connectivity.  The district technology team, the school test coordinator, and the district test coordinator area all on site to deal with any problems that arise. During PARCC testing in the spring of 2015, there were only a few minor technology glitches which were easily resolved.

 

Question: Will PARCC market personal information about students?

Answer:

No.  Protections are in place at both the state and federal levels, as well as through all contracts and agreements, to prevent all student-identifiable data from being marketed or distributed. The selling of student data is now allowed.

Read the document below: ” 5 Things You Need to Know About Year Two PARCC”

5 Things You Need to Know


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