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PARCC Releases Guidance for Common Core Assessments

PARCC--one of the two organizations tasked with developing assessments for Common Core State Standards--has released a new set of resources designed to help teachers and administrators prepare for the impending 2014 assessments.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a consortium of 22 states, is focused on an approach designed to eliminate end of term tests with assessments administered throughout the year and averaged for a final score. The stated purpose of the approach is to lessen the weight of any one individual test while, at the same time, theoretically providing formative data for teachers and students to use following each interim test. PARCC's proposed methods will "test students' ability to read complex text, complete research projects, excel at classroom speaking and listening assignments, and work with digital media," according to information released by the United States Department of Education, which funded PARCC to the tune of $186 million in 2010.

Among the new resources is the PARCC Assessment Administration Capacity Planning Tool (.xlsx file), which "provides schools and districts with a calculator that supports local technology budgeting and decision-making in preparation for computer-based administration of the tests in the 2014-2015 school year. This is a tool that administrators and school leaders have requested from the consortium to help them plan for a successful test administration in two years."

In the category of guidance, PARCC has issued several resources, including its User's Guide for PARCC Assessment Administration Capacity Planning Tool (PDF), Assessment Administration Guidance (PDF), Frequently Asked Questions (PDF), and Anticipated Schedule for Release of Future Guidance (PDF).

"As we work to transform education in Rhode Island, one of our goals has been to establish world-class standards and assessments for our schools and for our students. Today marks a major step toward that goal, as the PARCC consortium rolls out tools to help schools transition to these new assessments. I am confident that the PARCC assessments will provide our families and educators with timely and valuable information about student progress and achievement, which will help all of us move our schools toward greatness," said Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah A. Gist, a member of the PARCC Governing Board, in a prepared statement.

A running storehouse of PARCC's resources for administrators and teachers can be accessed on PARCC's site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

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