The 22 state assessment consortia PARCC issued administrative guidelines this week and they included more advice about access. Previously, PARCC issued updates the design of both the assessments and released item prototypes.
District and school administrators should pay attention to the The PARCC Assessment Administration Capacity Planning Tool. In short:
- There are nine testing sessions lasting about 9 hours for middle grades, 10 hours for high school.
- Schools will have a maximum of 20 school days to administer the Performance Based Assessment (PBA) and 20 school days to administer the End of Year Assessment component (EOY).
- Broadband requirements won’t be greater than 100 kbps (which is what SETDA recommended as a minimum in Broadband Imperative)
- The capacity planning tool offers detailed guidance on device access based on testing plans.
The PARCC Assessment Administration Guidance offers some ‘rules of thumb’ for planning. For devices, PARCC recommend that K-8 schools (testing 6 grades) have enough devices to test their two largest grades simultaneously. That’s probably about a 4:1 ratio of students to accessible computers (portable or lab based) in total.
When it comes to devices, PARCC “encourages schools and districts to consider their computer device needs for assessment as only one factor in an overall strategy for educational technology that supports high-quality student instruction, teacher professional development, and school community communications, as well as next generation assessment.”
Achieving minimum recommended device access for Common Core testing isn’t a heavy lift–most schools have enough computers to support testing right now. What’s more important is what is required for Common Core learning.
- Elementary schools should be using adaptive instructional systems to boost math and reading fluency and comprehension.
- Middle schools should consider online writing tools that provide structured feedback to support more and better writing.
- High schools should consider demands of Common Core literacy–especially writing with evidence–when they consider device access strategies. Lots of writing with multiple docs open suggests laptops will have benefits over tabs.
PARCC also announced that they became an independent nonprofit. The consortium had been governed by representatives of member states and supported by Achieve.
For more see DLN SmartSeries paper Getting Ready for Online Assessment.