Common Core test items ready for online practice

PARCC, one of two state consortia designing online Common Core exams, has posted sample test items for students to experience by computer

online-testTeachers in 18 states and the District of Columbia have new resources to help them prepare their students for online Common Core testing: The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two state consortia that are designing online Common Core exams, has posted sample test items for every grade level on the testing platform that students will use when taking the field test later this spring.

That means teachers, students, parents, and others will be able to try sample test items using computer-based tools such as drag-and-drop, multiple select, text highlighting, and an equation builder. PARCC also has released online tutorials that demonstrate how students will navigate the exam; how to use the computer-based tools; and features that make the exam more accessible for all students, including those with disabilities and English language learners.

“This spring’s field test will allow us to try out PARCC test questions, ensure the questions are aligned to the content area they cover, and build the best test we can,” said Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester, who serves as chair of the PARCC Governing Board.

Chester said the Jan. 22 release of fully functional sample PARCC test questions “will allow schools and students to experience and become comfortable with the new testing format in advance of the field test.”

The sample questions previously were available only as downloadable printouts. They are similar to the types of test items that students will see when the online exam is fully operational in spring 2015, PARCC says. Users are encouraged to try out items across all grade levels and provide feedback; the sample items will not be scored.

The PARCC field tests, slated to begin in late March, are designed to make sure the test items and the technology function correctly, and to work out any glitches that might occur.

The 18 state members of PARCC are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.

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