Frequently Asked Questions Regarding PARCC Assessments
1. What is the ultimate goal of the PARCC test?
The stated goal of the test is to measure student performance relative to the Common Core standards in LA and Math.
2. Are all children in the same grade taking the same test?
In the same way as the NJASK was structured, the PARCC is based on each grade level’s Common Core Standards. The results will show a student’s relative strengths and/or challenges relative to their particular grade level standards, with the exception of eighth grade students. Students enrolled in our Algebra 1 course will take the High School level Algebra PARCC; Students enrolled in a Geometry course will take the High School level Geometry PARCC.
3. How many hours are spent preparing the children for the tests?
Research consistently shows overemphasis on test prep reduces students’ academic performance. Therefore, our approach at Tewksbury has been to focus on the alignment of curriculum and instruction instead of explicit test preparation. Teachers are analyzing PARCC questions and formats, then embedding these types of questions authentically into our existing instructional units. Additionally, specific technology features of PARCC, including flagging a question, dragging and dropping, etc. are being practiced in technology classes through the use of the PARCC features test practice site. Classroom teachers have also utilized a small amount of class time to expose students to testing formats utilizing sample tests.PARCC PreparationEstimated Student Time AnnuallyStudents are primarily prepared for testing through existing curriculum and instructionongoingStudents are exposed to testing formats and features through online sample formats2-3 hoursAdministration of performance based prompts to ensure informed instruction in the writing curricular units3 hours
4. How many hours of standardized testing are scheduled for the school year at Tewksbury Schools?
Tewksbury students in grades 3-8 will spend about less than 2% of time spent in school on standardized tests. For students not taking PARCC, our first and second graders, less than 1% of school time is utilized for standardized tests. Tewksbury Kindergarten students spend 0%, as they are not administered any standardized tests.TestAverage Testing TimeCoGat- Cognitive Abilities Screener used for Project Aspire Identificationaverage testing time 60 min
(given to students in grades 1, 2 and 5)NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)average testing time 60 min per subject tested (Reading and Math)
120 minutes per testing term= 240 minutes perPARCCvaries by grade level; approximately 10 total hours
5. What will the students' day be like during PARCC testing weeks?
Testing sessions will be conducted in the morning. Students will complete 1-2 testing sessions per day. Testing sessions vary from 1-2 hour per day, with additional time provided for directions and logging in. During non-testing times, students will be engaged in regular instruction in relation to approved curricular units of study. However, homework, tests or quizzes will be eliminated during PARCC testing weeks.
6. What happens if my child arrives to school late?
Late students will not be able to enter testing sessions that have already begun, but will be given a make-up session in the afternoon or on a subsequent day. Make-up sessions cannot be preplanned, therefore absent or late students should be prepared to take the assessment any time upon return to school.
7. When will parents receive results and what will the results tell parents?
According to the NJ Department of Education, this year’s PARCC results will be available to districts prior to the start of the school year. Individual student results may come shortly after the district level results. We have been told that in future years, we should expect the results by the end of the school year.
8. Will the PARCC be used as part of Tewksbury’s student placement for classes, ASAP, Aspire etc.?
PARCC assessments are utilized to help determine students' instructional programming including ASAP, and in-class differentiated instruction. PARCC is not used for Project Aspire Placement.
9. How will the results of the PARCC be utilized within our district?
Teachers are able to use the results, in conjunction with other district data, to better determine areas of strength and areas of challenge for each student. This information can then be used to inform instruction. At the summative level, PARCC results may be utilized in conjunction with other data to reflect on programming and influence school program goals.
10. What accommodations will be made for children with IEP’s and 504’s?
Accommodations are individualized based on each student’s need as determined by the 504 or IEP. Parents will receive notification of any necessary changes to their child’s individual accommodations (as per PARCC guidelines) from the Child Study Team or guidance prior to testing.
11. Who will have access to student PARCC test results?
The school district will treat PARCC results in the same way for all standarized testing. They will be seen by school personnel and parents, and results will also be a part of the student’s cumulative file.
12. What is the cost of administering the PARCC specifically to our district?
The cost for administering the PARCC is very difficult to calculate. While we certainly need computers and sufficient internet service for the tests to be administered, our district already was committed to expanding our technology access for students. The cost is most relative to our students in time expenditure of staff and students in relation to test preparation that would otherwise be utilized on the development of programming and instructional implementation for our students.
13. How are the tests designed to measure teacher effectiveness?
Results from PARCC will be used in the same way that NJASK results are now being used in relation to measuring teacher effectiveness. Recent changes in teacher evaluation legislation (ACHIEVE NJ) require that state assessment scores be factored into a teacher’s overall evaluation based on students’ annual growth. This applies to teachers in grades 4-8 in the areas of English Language Arts and Math.
14. What are the organizational terms related to PARCC, and how does NJ fits within this context?
Common Core Standards are a set of student level standards used to create curriculum and help determine instructional goals at each grade level. All states had the option to adopt the Common Core. New Jersey is one of 43 states to adopt the Common Core http://www.corestandards.org/standards-in-your-state/.
PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a consortium of states working to develop a specific assessment of the Common Core Standards http://www.parcconline.org/parcc-states.
Pearson Education is the publishing company contracted by PARCC to design and implement all PARCC testing.
Information for parents provided by PARCC may be found at: