In our state we our implementing the PARCC assessments for the 2014-2015 school year. I was looking over sample items for alg 1, geometry, and alg 2, and they look pretty tough. The actual math doesn't look terribly out of reach, but the way they ask them the problems is absurd. Instead of saying factor 81x^2-100y^2, they ask the question as "find values of a, b, c, and d so that 81x^2-100y^2=(ax+by)(cx+dy)". Many of my kids who can factor that (especially the spec ed kids in my room) will not even attempt that because it sounds so hard. I know some districts in my state (like one my friend teaches in) that haven't even changed the curriculum yet. I teach in one of the top districts in my state, and even we are a little concerned with the difficulty level of these (particularly for classified students). I can't imagine how some of the other districts will pull it off..really. One or two teachers in my department who have been teaching these subjects for several years(alg 1, geo, and alg 2) have requested to move up to pre-calc or something else so that they don't have to deal with it. I don't know---what do you know about these tests?

They are already sprinkling PAARC-like questions into NJAsk...there definitely is a new 'test speak'. PAARC is being field tested in NJ THIS year. Timeline: 2012-13 School Year: Item research and tryouts, and related research and data collection 2013-14 School Year: Field testing and related research and data collection

As far as field testing, I assume there are certain schools volunteering to test it? Is that how it's going to work? I've also heard it's going to be computer-based for the HS tests, which worries me a bit since they won't be used to computer-based test.

Elementary has a computer component as well...I'm in a very wired school and it's going to still be tough...can't imagine how this is going to happen in less 'techy' schools.

Exactly---especially when so much of what I emphasize is in the work/process rather than the answer. This is hard to achieve on a computer.

In my school we have a decent amount of students who take a math class over the summer to get ahead (often geometry or algebra 2)......will those kids take the PARCC tests? I assume that all 3 PARCC tests will be required for graduation like our one HSPA was? Does anyone know how that works?

I could be wrong, be it is my understanding that will have to take the test. My district has been trying to prevent kids from taking summer math classes to get ahead for years. These kids have almost always been unprepared. The worst is the kids who take alg 2 in the summer to get into pre-calc. Our school doesn't offer summer classes so they take it elsewhere with an easier curriculum.