PARCC PBA: The Field Test

Today began a six week period of testing at my school – and we kicked it off with the future in mind.  My students took the PARCC PBA Field Test and I have a ton of thoughts floating in my head, but here’s the gist.

+ Technology makes the test hard – I felt like I was testing student endurance dealing with the computer than their math.  I saw some students shut down and give up.

+ There is no way we can test like we have in the past – an entire cohort or state at one time.  My school (7-12 with 120 in a grade) doesn’t have the space to create designated testing rooms to use for all our students – we had 80 students testing at once and that is probably the upper limit.  I don’t enjoy thinking about the schedule we’ll craft for next year (someone may have mentioned my name in that conversation – hahaha).  I also don’t like considering how much instructional time may be lost for these tests.

+ I spent 40 minutes of a 55 minute session on the phone with truly wonderful and patient people trouble shooting an issue. It made it difficult to do the other job I had – administer a secure test.  Thankfully I had a proctor in the room to assist.

Even though my school, district, PARCC and Pearson have a long way to go I’m still optimistic for where we are going.  I still believe in PARCC assessments.  Students need a curriculum engaged with technology and a test to reflect that and PARCC does that.  I know we’ll find a way to make technology smooth.  We’ll sort out schedules – that’s just a giant puzzle 🙂

In other, related news, I created a survey for field tested students about how they think we should change our instruction.  I’m excited to share this with my colleagues and have data to talk about our conversation.  After we get all the data (over the next months) I’ll examine it, share with my school to see what students think we should do in our classrooms.


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