Whatever your educational or political beliefs about standardized testing may be, the reality is that federal law requires schools to administer tests to every student in certain grades every year. This year, Maryland and Illinois will use PARCC tests to provide accountability data in math and English language arts. Schools should already be preparing for the online tests.
In my day job, I wrote an outline of a path school and district test coordinators might use to prepare for online tests administered by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, this spring. The outline is published on the Maryland Online Testing blog, here.
Many of the links are specific to Maryland, since I work for the Maryland State Department of Education, but many of them are also general to PARCC. Both Maryland and Illinois will be involved with online PARCC testing this spring, and for readers who aren’t school test coordinators, I hope this outline gives you a sense of the massive preparation school officials are undertaking on behalf of students in several states as well as the federal law known as No Child Left Behind, which led the charge 12 years ago in giving rise to these tests.
In addition to MSDE’s link, Kimberley Harrington with the New Jersey Department of Education conducted a session, “Communicating the Common Core through Parent Academies,” at an assessment conference last month in Ocean City, Md. The “Parent Academies,” she said, can be conducted at the district or school level.
Not only do I support the idea of opening several channels between schools and parents in fostering a deeper understanding by each of the other’s concerns and struggles, but I also fully endorse how Ms Harrington chose to go about fostering that understanding with these parent academies.
She has advanced a spirit of collaboration—not just between New Jersey and Maryland but also between Maryland’s schools and the communities they serve—and we need so much more of this kind of work today.
Ms Harrington’s documents (adapt as needed for your school):
- Possible agenda for parent academies
- Myths and facts about the Common Core
- Why the parent academy model can serve your school community well
- Information resources pertinent to the Common Core
As always, we welcome your comments as we try to help schools prepare for en masse online testing, in any way we can, especially by spreading the word about the preparation that will be required.