PARCC is going to be a nightmare...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    So, my 6th and 7th grade kids had the week off last week, and they were given a math "PARCC practice packet" to compete. Of course, they both saved most of it for the weekend :rolleyes:, so we ended up bringing the packets to a family gathering.

    My family happens to be very educated. Everyone has advanced degrees (except me - I'm still working on my master's...:eek:). I'm fairly confident in my math skills, but some of the problems in both my children's packets had me stumped. The wording and the scenarios were so vague, I couldn't figure out how I was expected to manipulate the data to solve the problem. So, I consulted with family members and found we were all lost. It was kind of comical to see a prominent attorney, a medical doctor, and a 30 year veteran teacher argue over a 7th grade math problem. It did not instill me with a whole lot of confidence in the validity of the test my kids and my students are soon to take.

    This isn't the only incidence like this. A group of teachers (including me) sat down a few weeks ago to complete a fourth grade LAL practice PARCC test. None of us got a perfect score. We all were thrown by some of the wording.

    So, are all the adults I know and work with inadequate or is there something very wrong with these tests? :dizzy::eek:hmy:
     
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  3. woodd2

    woodd2 Rookie

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    I've had almost the same exact experience. A lot of the teachers at my school have gone through the practice tests and it seems to be much too difficult.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    The ELA ones seemed okay to me from what I've taken. There were a couple tricky ones, but nothing that bothered me too much. The math ones I was lost on in some parts though...
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The practice 9th Grade ELA reading (from the Pearson website) was at a 12.8 Lexile. My best students were a mess while trying to read it. I had to look up some of the concepts being discussed to make sure I was able to explain them. In the end, I decided that I wouldn't count the practice tests toward their grade unless their multiple choice scores were at least a B.
     
  6. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Thanks...Just to clarify, it's not just the level of rigor that I take issue with. I'm all for increased - but realistic - academic standards. I think the questions themselves were, at times, written in a way that was vague and confusing. So, even a kid was at an advanced math and/or reading level, the wording of some of the questions seemed deliberately vague and confusing.

    My cousin went to an Ivy League law school and she had an issue with a couple of the problems I showed her. That can't be good. ;)
     
  7. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This isn't true of most tests? The CST test in California certainly had this for some questions as well.
     
  8. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    The PARCC is going to be a nightmare for my school/district because of logistics. 6th grade and below are the only ones taking it on paper; all 7th and 8th graders as well as the HS PARCCs (given in Algebra and English II) must be taken online.

    My school has no computer lab and most teachers only have one computer in their room. The Tech teacher has between 10-15 working computers in his room and we have a laptop cart with fewer than 30 laptops. So no more than 40 kids can test at a time!:dizzy: :help:

    Our Testing Coordinator has already expressed that between the lack of computers and the length of the tests, we will have to test kids in small groups and in shifts instead of testing everyone at once like with the paper tests. Not to mention, computers freeze, wifi disconnects and a whole host of other issues. According to my TC, these are concerns being expressed by schools across the district.
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    @ Go Blue
    I wonder how the money was alloted? We had the same shortage of computers last year for the trial test. This year our district, recieved money for common core, every student recieved a chromebook.

    I wonder if your district spent the money differently? Didn't get common core money?
     
  10. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    I've been at 2 schools that were "lucky" enough to have a PARCC test launch... It was pretty confusing, but I honestly think you can practice for it like any other tests. We already teach how to answer standardized test questions -- mark all over the test packet, cross out wrong answers, look for trick answers. IMO, any standardized testing is a nightmare, especially when it's new and the kids (and teachers) have to learn the procedures from scratch.

    The reading doesn't seem to be as bad, but the math test I saw required a lot of "show how you know" answers. You score points just for attempting or being partially correct, whereas on a multiple choice question, you would earn a zero for any wrong choice.

    If your curriculum already aligns with CC standards, odds are the students will already have been practicing these open-ended questions.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    But look at the critical thinking it's making you do!

    J/K. PARCC isn't the best test. We took the practice PARCC last year. Most of the problems were too confusing for the students to do just because of what they had to do with the computer (i.e. use a program to draw a 3-dimensional shape, highlight certain parts of a text and input annotations using the program, etc.) It's not that they didn't know how to do it. It's that they didn't have practice using computers to that extent.

    Though it was far more challenging content wise than our previous tests.
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    California has never taken the PARCC. Are you referring to the SBAC test?

    This year, they've changed the name from SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) to CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance & Progress).
     
  13. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Crash and burn, I predict.

    Ohio started testing last week and it's not pretty.

    Oh, and we're not supposed to get data until next December! How is that for timely feedback?
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 23, 2015

    A few things you might not know about PARCC:

    Pearson advertised on Craigslist for scorers...paying $12 per hour


    The reading levels of some passages is two gade levels above the grade level being assessed


    Some passages being used on ELA section are forty or more years old to avoid copyright problems...the practice ample my kids read today was published in 1910


    There is no established passing grade yet...they will set that after the test has been administered...



    And...PARCC spelled backwards is....:spitwater:
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You have officially won the Internet for the day.

    :clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:
     
  16. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    Ugh. I'm doing PARCC prep now and I literally did 5 problems the entire period. (5th grade math). Poor kids (and poor teachers with an sgp).
     
  17. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Yes...and one other thing...

    Pearson, the company that is releasing and profiting from PARCC, will also be making big money from remedial materials designed for all the kids that fail PARCC. I'm sure they'll keep that in mind when they figure out what a failing grade is. :dizzy:
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    This is the biggest issue our English II (10th grade) teacher found with the PARCC. He said that although ELA skills transfer from grade to grade MUCH better than Math skills; the passage we reviewed in the practice PARCC was something read in low-level college courses - at least that's what he claimed.

    Honestly, I had never even heard of the passage in the practice PARCC ... it was an ancient Greek, Homer-style "poem" and it was not the type of thing I would want to have to read on a computer if I had to analyze it.

    In fact, according to our TC, many English teachers in my district have been complaining that their students are not built for or prepared to have to read and analyze long passages on a computer screen.
     
  19. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    We had to test students in shifts last year for the field test. It took a month of summonsing kids from their classes. This year we have 1-1 computers so we can test all the students together.
     
  20. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    My district had schools only field test a select few students in each school - no more than 25 - and THAT was a headache last year. Yet, they have not addressed any of the concerns from the field tests and are just powering along. Go figure.
     
  21. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Look at it this way: if or when there is crash and burn, there will be plenty of fireworks to make a spectacle. Until that time, however, we are obligated to do our best to stay focused and march in step. I will say that if the teachers administering the test can't get it up and running without serious help, I have very low expectations for the success, but, hey, it wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong!
     
  22. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Our district leaders are encouraging our principles to meet with concerned parents (that is to say, parents of gifted children) before the test to warn them that scores won't be good.

    Nothing about that sentence feels right.
     
  23. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oh yeah. That was it. Too many acronyms.. >_<
     
  24. andyguitar331

    andyguitar331 Rookie

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    Here in northern New Mexico, Santa Fe to be specific, students are walking out in protest against PARCC.

    The practice PARCC was supposed to help the students prepare, but I think it just scared the hell out of them. My students are telling me they are going to fail because the "smart kids" are also failing the test. I see no passion in them, enthusiasm, or confidence. All I see in them is fear :(

    I have also heard of teachers taking the practice test, and many of them are supposedly failing as well.

    So I agree... this is going to be a train wreck.
     
  25. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    This was my exact experience today with the practice test. My kids were flipping out while taking it today. It is especially ridiculous for them because they are, on average, at a 1st grade reading level and they're taking a test that is supposedly 4th grade, but really seems years above that. But, not to worry. That "extra time" accommodation for special ed students will solve that problem. :rolleyes:

    I don't know who created the practice test, but I would bet my paycheck that there has to be a mistake. For quite a number of the comprehension questions we covered today, there was, without question, more than one correct answer - definitely.
     
  26. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I was able to remember enough details about one of the reading selections to find the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. It was two grades above the level of the students taking the test.
     
  27. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    That's just the reading level of the passage. The questions ask them to synthesize multiple passages, and analyze them in pretty complex ways. I actually found the passages the easiest part of the test. It is the questions that I find really confusing. And I stand by what I said. Some of them have multiple right answers when the student can only select one.
     
  28. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm looking through the practice third grade math test. Some of these questions are ridiculous. The math concepts themselves are fine, but they are worded in such a weird way (question 15, part B, as an example). I'm not entirely sure exactly what they were expecting for some of the questions. There's also the pure tedium involved (the one where they have to sit there and click 42 boxes? I wonder how many kids on a question like that would ultimately just make a perimeter?).
     
  29. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Why? Are these HS students? Does EVERY HS student have to take it in your state?

    In MD, at the HS level, the PARCCs will only be given in English (English II/10th grade) and in Algebra (9th grade/ a few 8th graders). Most students here are not even taking the PARCC and none of our Juniors or Seniors have to take it unless they are still in one of the aforementioned courses - which they should have passed already. Instead, they will still continue to take the old state exams, the HSAs.
     
  30. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Is the state requiring your third graders take it on computers or is this a district/school mandate?
     
  31. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'm in a non-CCSS state. I took the practice PARCC just to compare (although Virginia is moving towards all computer, and my district is already there).

    I feel like the makers of the practice test confused rigor for ambiguity. I hope the actual third grade test isn't so poorly written.
     
  32. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    My dad did the same thing with the 4th grade test. It was 7th grade reading level. He teaches in a wealthy district that usually gets very high scores (percentage of passing is usually in the high 90s). He truly believes that based on what he saw, only the extremely bright/gifted kids have a chance at passing. He also took the practice test and got a 67. He said the teachers were all working on it together trying to figure out what answer they were possibly looking for :rolleyes:.
     
  33. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    So ... this Spring, are your 3rd graders taking their state required assessments online - yes or no?
     
  34. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Yes.
     
  35. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I graded the 7th grade writing PARCC for Pearson last year. It was a flipping NIGHTMARE. The grading guidelines were so confusing, so subjective and so inconsistent that Pearson ending up letting 75% of the grading crew go because they (we, I have to admit... WE) kept failing their secret, hidden quality checks. Then they had to hire them back because they didn't have enough crew to finish by the deadline. I swear, you'd be looking at two almost identical responses, but some random PARCC rep had given one a "1" and the other a "3." It was the most miserable 4 weeks ever. I was actually crying with frustration, just trying to GRADE these tests.
     
  36. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    We don't take PARCC, but we have our own new state test designed to assess "College and Career Readiness", per federal guidelines. We are facing many of the same issues, but this just made me shake my head--the practice tests cover 2 grade levels. So there is a 3rd/4th grade version. One glance at the first math problem showed that it is definitely over my kiddos' heads, mostly because of the size of the numbers! We'll see how it goes today...
     
  37. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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  38. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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