Friday, December 5, 2014

Practice makes PARCCfect!

This week I attended a PARCC Practice Test Session put on by Susan Whettle and two PARCC fellows. Like many educators, we know PARCC is coming and are immersed in teaching to the standards, but have we taken the time to really explore the PARCC assessment and everything it has to offer? This week I thought I would share some highlights from this training.

If you have not taken the PARCC tutorial, I highly recommend that you take the time to do so. This tutorial will walk you through the different tools held within the PARCC test. As someone who had perused through the different grade level assessments previously, I found this tutorial incredibly helpful. Some tools to note were:
The Answer Eliminator: This tool allows students to "cross out" answers they know do not belong in order to narrow down the potential correct answers.  
The Line Reader: This tool allows students to focus in on one sentence, paragraph or section of the text, isolating it from the remaining text on the page. Students are able to adjust the width, and height of the text window to use it flexibly. 

Answer Masking: This tool allows students to hide all of the answers and reveal them as they work through the question. It allows students to isolate and think through each answer at a time.
In addition to the tools shown above, I was able to navigate the text, use highlighting, and tinkered around with how to enlarge the movies on the screen (Ctrl+ to magnify and Ctrl- to shrink). As I finished the navigation tutorial, I realize how informative it was for me to tinker around with these tools in a nonthreatening way. If this free time to maneuver was valuable to me, imagine the impact it would provide students to understand how the tools work, and have the chance to practice using them in order to gain confidence now rather than cramming it in right before the test.

Finally, the Fellows highlighted, a resource which provides practice to standards aligned questions in an online platform. There are hundreds of questions, organized by grade level, and standard within this website. It is a great place to go for additional practice for students to use the technology of PARCC with grade level appropriate questions.

I hope that within your incredibly busy schedules, you can find the time to explore these resources further. The more exposure and practice we can provide our students to these next generation assessments, can increase their comfort and confidence leading into the new year.


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