So, while we are all busy infusing the Common Core State Standards (our own state version of them, anyway...) we are busy thinking about and planning for the new assessment. At this time, PARCC is planned for full online testing deployment in 2014, I believe.
Here's the PARCC headquarters website. What's going on in your state or district?
In Arizona, we are very concerned that many of our small, rural, isolated districts don't have the bandwidth or the machines to be ready for this idea. The state department of education is rolling our a "readiness tool" to learn what the challenges and obstacles might be, but we don't yet know if there might be money to assist in surmounting them. I believe it's more likely that there will be a pencil/paper version of the assessment for those schools who are not able to do it electronically.
Do you think a pencil/paper version is warranted? Do you think it's a good idea? What are the obstacles in your area?
IMHO, a pencil/paper version will not be adequate and here's why. I understand that the questions are likely to be different for each student based on their answers to questions they have completed. It's planned to be a "flexible" test in that way. I don't really have a good idea how that would work without technology.
I'm really eager to hear your thoughts!
I think it's very dependent on the district. I am in Massapequa, Long Island and we are in good shape. We began piloting the NWEA exam for growth with one elementary school last year and expanded to three more elementary and the middle school this year. NWEA is very similar to how you explain PARCC so our students will be used to the format.
That said, we are using computer labs, so logistically how do you get all of these students tested? Many classes have more students than there are computers. What will the time frame be? I would think laptops with WIFI would be the best scenario and that is something Massapequa does not have. NY has a 2% tax cap so I don't know how all of this is going to be accomplished especially for those schools who are not as prepared and do not have the technology necessary.
I think the most interesting piece to follow is how the differences between PARCC's model and that of the Smarter Balanced consortium will play out. I also think there will be some really tough challenges at the high school level, particularly in states where standardized assessment isn't a big part of the high school experience right now. On a somewhat related note, check out this article from Iowa - the Director of the state's DOE is taking the ACT today as part of a "friendly debate on the role of standardized testing" with a professor from University of Kentucky.
I was looking around at the Smarter Balanced Consortium's website, and found they have links to the tech purchasing guidelines for both the PARCC assessment group and their own on this page. Arizona has sent out a readiness survey to districts, to learn what it will take for schools to be able to utilize online assessments in future.
What do you think?