From September, 2014

PARCC: Assessments, Dates, and Implications

The PARCC End-of-Course and Performance Based assessments will be given for grades 9-11 in ELA. Here is a summary of assessments, dates, and implications for teachers and students.

As a quick overview, ninth through eleventh grade will be taking the PARCC End-of-Course Exams and Performance-Based Assessments.  In addition, the tenth graders will also be taking the OGT; this is the last group of students who will do so.  Here are the tests required for ELA in 2014-2015.

PARCC End-of-Course Exams, 2014-2015: 

Administration Window of April 13 to May 15 

  • English I, Grade 9
  • English II, Grade 10
  • English III, Grade 11

PARCC Performance-Based Assessments, 2015-2015: 

Administration Window of February 16 to March 20 

  • Grade 9
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11

OGT, 2014-2015:

Administration Window of March 16 to 29

  • Grade 10

Current tenth graders will be the last class required to take and pass the OGT for graduation.  The new graduation requirements (beginning with this year’s freshmen) will require students to have taken the seven mandated End-of-Course exams, and also have received a passing score on each or have passed one of two college and career readiness requirements.  This “New HIgh School Graduation Requirements” sheet from ODE is a helpful resource in understanding the new mandates.  This additional resource from ODE summarizes the process further and provides additional information.

Since the field test, revisions have been made to the End-of-Course English exams which will shorten the time to take the test. This post from PARCC explains the changes explicitly, but in summary, there is one less reading passage and four fewer questions.  This is what will appear on the revised 2014-2015 test according to PARCC’s website:

Revised End-of-Course Test Outline: 

  • 1 short literary passage with 5 questions
  • 1 “paired” passage set with 6 questions
  • (paired passage set comprised of two short literary passages, two short informational passages, or a literary and an informational passage)
  • 1 short informational passage with 5 questions
  • 1 long informational passage with 6 questions
  • Total: 4 passage sets, 22 items

In addition, my previous post, “PARCC Breakdown: Performance Based Assessment Analysis,” provides information on the format and types of questions students will see on the PBA.

Implications of PARCC for Teacher Evaluation

Value added is a data measure “designed to show how much academic progress a student makes over a school year, [it] compares test scores from one year to scores at the end of the next year.”

According to The Plain Dealer, value added data will likely be available from the PARCC’s End-of-Course assessment for English and math in 2014-2015.  Value Added data has been available in other grade levels before, but this is the first time 9-12 grade teachers and administrators will have access to this information.

However, for the first year of implementing PARCC, teachers will be operating under “safe harbor,” which basically means, “…scores from the state’s first year of Common Core testing in 2014-15 can’t be held against them.”




Using Student and Teacher Instructions for Getting Started Logo is a the web service we are using for students portfolio submissions.  The service defines itself as, “The leading originality checking and plagiarism prevention service used by millions of students and faculty, and thousands of institutions worldwide. Turnitin encourages best practices for using and citing other people’s written material.”

The following resources can be downloaded for students and teachers to use as they get started with the program:

In addition to being a plagiarism prevention program, Turnitin also supports best writing practices.  If teachers use the program to its full capacity, it can do the following:

  • Help teachers give formative feedback in a fast, efficient manner before final submissions via the Revision Assignment
  • Provide opportunities for students to review one another’s work and provide formative feedback via the Peermark Assignment 
  • Provide opportunities for student to reflect on their writing process, successes, and challenges via the Reflection Assignment
  • Help students to recognize and revise plagiarism in essays via the Originality Check once essays are submitted in the Paper Assignment
  • Facilitate class dialogue in a safe environment via the Discussion Boards 

If you are a teacher who is new to Turnitin, all of these resources will be helpful to you.  If you are a returning teacher, I encourage you to try out the Discussion Boards this year and also check your “Optional Settings” for assignments to make sure they support students learning from the program.  You can see a list of these in the “Instructions to Create Classes and Assignments” but here is an overview if you don’t want to download the file:

Change the Following “Optional Settings” Before Students Submit Assignments:

Under “Allow Submissions After Due Date”

  • Change to “YES”

Under “Generate an Originality Report for Student Submissions”


Under “Students to See Originality Report”

  • Change to “YES”


  • These settings will be saved for all future assignments
  • They will ensure that students are able to use Turnitin as a formative, learning experience
  • Teachers have not recommended the grammar check for student assignments

I hope these resources help you to facilitate the use of this beneficial program with your students.  Teachers have spoken highly so far of the benefits of the service for students and the ease of online grading for teachers.