PARCC Breakdown: Performance Based Assessment Analysis

Standardized testing is not always a popular implementation.  One reason for this may be that many standardized tests of the past could be criticized for only meeting the lower-levels of thinking (recall, comprehension etc.) or for being “formulaic” (the five-paragraph essay).

In this particular regard, there is some good news in regards to the new generation of standardized assessments, particularly PARCC, the assessment Ohio will be adopting in 2013-2014.  The level of thinking students will be required to do will be of a much higher level according to national research:

“’We don’t know if we are getting any better unless we can document it,’ said Marc Chun, program officer at the Hewlett Foundation. He commissioned a National Center for Research, Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) study to evaluate the Smarter Balanced and PARCC tests for various aspects of deeper learning. The study found that the test actually does measure content and critical thinking better than any other test and it does a reasonable job at measuring written communication.

Ultimately what we want students to be able to do is solve problems they’ve never seen before,” Chun said. That’s why he thinks even nationally administered tests like those being used to evaluate Common Core standards can be effective.”

– “More Progressive Ways to Measure Deeper Level of Learning” from Mindshift by Katrina Schwartz

The PARCC assessment will have two parts in English; those two parts will be the English Language Arts End-of-the-Year test and the Performance-Based Assessment.

End-of-the-Year tests will be available in the fall of 2014, and Performance-Based Assessments are available right now.  You can take these Performance-Based Assessments online at this link.

I have explored the tests now available, focusing on the tenth grade assessment which has all three PBAs: Narrative, Research and Literary Analysis Tasks.  A couple of key changes were tasks that required Here is a document outlining the tenth grade performance tasks for PARCC:

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