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PARCC field testing and case study

Approximately 8 percent of Massachusetts students in 1,075 schools – 58 percent of the total – will be participating in the field testing of PARCC ELA and math assessments this spring. Performance-Based Assessments – PBAs – will be administered March 24 through April 11. End-of-Year – EOY – tests will be given May 5 through June 6.

The DESE gave districts the option of excusing students who are taking one of the PBAs from taking the MCAS test in that subject, but 83 percent of districts are requiring students to take both.

In the spring of 2015, districts will have the option of administering either PARCC or MCAS, but not both, in grades three to eight. Grade 10 students will continue to take the MCAS through the class of 2018, though districts will also be field-testing PARCC’s grade 10 EOY tests.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has not yet determined the schedule for administering PARCC assessments for grades nine and 11, though assessments in those grades will be field-tested this spring, as well.

In the fall of 2015, the BESE will be asked to vote on whether to replace MCAS tests with PARCC tests in ELA and math. The plan is to continue to administer science MCAS tests.

More information will be forthcoming about how changing assessments will affect school and district accountability and the new teacher evaluation system.

Case Study involves Burlington and Revere

Meanwhile, the MTA and other education stakeholder groups are collaborating on a case study of PARCC implementation by focusing on Burlington and Revere. Burlington, a leader in computer-based education, will be administering PARCC tests in both subjects to students throughout the district. Revere will administer PARCC to all students in three of the district’s 11 schools.

A group that includes the MTA, the DESE, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, education policy organizations and administrators from both districts plans to hire a researcher to conduct the case study. Among other issues, the research will explore district Internet bandwidth needs, the testing experience on different computing devices, proctor familiarity with the testing environment and student reactions to the online testing format.

The details of PARCC implementation and the case study are being documented on a newly created blog.