PARCC Field Testing Begins in Madison

A Publication of the
Madison Public
Schools Office of
Curriculum and
March 2014
A Walk in the PARCC
aims to provide all
those with an interest in
the Madison Public
Schools with the latest
information about the
Common Core State
Standards and PARCC
PARCC Field Testing Begins in Madison
The PARCC consortium reached another milestone this month. On March 24, thousands of
schools in PARCC states began the first window of field testing to “test the test” and gain
valuable data that will drive the continued refinement of the assessments for full roll-out in
the 2014-15 school year.
The field test is designed to determine whether the questions measure what they were
designed to measure, and are clear and fair. It will be administered to over one million
students across the PARCC states and provide a window into what schools can expect next
year. It will give test coordinators and schools a chance to practice and provide feedback
regarding the administration of the PARCC assessment system and include student-level
surveys to garner a better understanding of the student test experience.
In Madison this week, two classes of English 9 students at Madison High School completed the
three sections of the English Language Arts Performance Based Assessment: 1) Literary
Analysis; 2) Research Simulation; 3) Narrative Writing. After some initial technological glitches
on day one, testing went smoothly throughout the week.
Additional field testing is scheduled for Central Avenue School (March 31-April 4), Kings Road
School (May 19-20), Madison Junior School (April 7-11 and May 14-15), and Madison High
School (May 6, 16). After completing the tests, participating students are completing surveys
about the experience that will help district administrators and teachers improve instruction
and assessment to best meet the demands of the new assessment system.
To aid the field test process, PARCC recently posted a frequently asked questions document.
This document answers school- and district-level questions about what to expect, how the
field test will be used and more.
Article adapted from “Schools Get Ready for Field Test” published at
Masthead Design:
Dani Bratton
Madison High School Teacher
Click here for PARCC sample items.
Higher Education Leaders Play Role in Determining
College and Career Readiness
Post-secondary and K-12 leaders from the PARCC states are gearing up for a convening June
16-17 in New Orleans that will focus on policy issues associated with setting scores that signal
students are on track for success in entry-level, credit-bearing college classes. They will also
discuss how the validation studies, which will begin this spring and continue through January
2015, will be conducted and influence the standard-setting process.
Higher education faculty recruited from a diverse group of colleges and universities will be
selected to participate in two validation studies. In one, first-time freshmen students enrolled
in entry-level, credit-bearing or technical courses will take the PARCC high school assessments
in English and mathematics in fall 2014. Students will be followed throughout the fall
semester to determine the relationship between success in postsecondary courses and
performance on PARCC. In the second, higher education faculty and admissions/placement
specialists will be asked to review PARCC items and indicate how students would need to
perform on them in order to be academically ready for postsecondary work.
Article adapted from “Higher Ed Leaders Focus on Role of Assessments in Transition from K12” published at
Watch “Eye on PARCC” from Chelmsford, MA
Eye on PARCC is a cable television show produced by the Chelmsford Public Schools in
Chelmsford, Massachusetts. The purpose of the show is to prepare the community at large for
the change from state assessments (MCAS) to PARCC.
View the latest episodes at
Article adapted from “Eye on PARCC with Anne-Marie Fiore, Matthew Beyranevand, and Linda
Hirsh” published at
District’s Elementary Schools Offering Family
Literacy Night on April 7
At 6:30pm on Monday, April 7, each elementary school will be running a Family Literacy Night.
This is a great opportunity for parents to experience some of the literacy activities their
children participate in during their time at school. Some activities may include centers to
reinforce skills taught in the lower grades and interactive group work activities or read-aloud
strategies in the upper grades.
Registration information was sent home via each school. If you have any questions, please
contact the main office.
PARCC Announces New Supports for Students with
Disabilities and English Language Learners
Follow PARCC on
PARCC is committed to providing all students with access to high-quality assessment. For the
assessment system as a whole, PARCC is committed to ensuring that all participating students,
including students with disabilities, English learners, and English learners with disabilities, are
able to engage in a meaningful and appropriate matter so valid results can be obtained for all
students. Through a combination of universal design principles and computer-embedded
features, PARCC is designing an assessment system that is inclusive of all students – from
initial design through implementation.
The second edition of the PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual is a
comprehensive policy document that provides guidance to districts and decision-making
teams to ensure that the PARCC Mid-Year, Performance-Based, and End-of-Year Assessments
provide valid results for all participating students.
For more information, visit the Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual page and
be sure to take a look at the newly added PARCC Field Test Assistive Technology Guidelines.
Article adapted from “PARCC Accessibility Update – New Assistive Technology Guidance”
published at
NJ DOE Releases Common Core Fact Sheet
On March 18, 2014, the New Jersey Department of Education released a Common Core
overview fact sheet. Some highlights:
In 2010, New Jersey voluntarily adopted the Common Core State Standards, along with 45
other states and Washington, D.C. The standards were developed by the National Governors
Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, together with teachers, curriculum
content experts and higher education faculty. The Common Core replaced the previous New
Jersey standards for all students in grades K-12 in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
The other seven curricular areas that comprise the NJ CCCS remain unchanged.
The Common Core was adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010, and the state has
undertaken a slow process of implementation over three years between 2011-12 and 2013-14
to allow districts and teachers to make the appropriate curriculum shifts. The standards were
to be fully implemented in every classroom and school district in the 2013-14 school year.
Facts About the Common Core
Adoption of the Common Core was not required by the Federal Government. New
Jersey voluntarily adopted the Common Core because it sets higher standards and is
aligned with college and career readiness.
The Common Core is not a national curriculum that takes control from local
educators. The Common Core is a set of standards that define the skills and
knowledge students must learn at each grade level. All decisions regarding
curriculum, textbooks, reading lists, lesson plans, and pacing will continue to be made
by local school districts.
Broad Support for Raising the Bar
A poll of New Jersey educators found that two-thirds of teachers are enthusiastic
about the Common Core, and 69% believe the Common Core will have a positive
impact on students’ ability to think critically and use reasoning skills.
The National Education Association (NEA), New Jersey’s largest teachers’ union, was
involved in the development and implementation of the Common Core.
The Common Core was endorsed by the College and Career Ready Task Force, which
was made up of the higher education and business communities of New Jersey.
The national Chamber of Commerce also supports the Common Core.
The Common Core has the support of Governor Christie, President Obama, the Star
Ledger Editorial Board and educators across the country.
Additional Resources
“The standards are
benchmarked to
standards to
guarantee that our
students are
competitive in the
emerging global
Council of the Great
City Schools
Office of Curriculum and
Madison Public Schools
359 Woodland Road
Madison. NJ 07940
Matthew A. Mingle, Director
The New Jersey Resource Educator Exchange ( provides Common Core
aligned instructional resources. Educators can search for, download, and share instructional
materials connected to the Common Core State Standards and the New Jersey Core
Curriculum Content Standards, as well as access the New Jersey Model Curriculum. More
information can also be found at:
Council of the Great City Schools Three-Minute Video:
National PTA Parents’ Guide to Success: Available through
Achieve Common Core Resources: February 2014 PARCC.pdf
National Education Association (NEA) Common Core Resources:
The Hunt Institute Common Core Videos:
What Do You Think?
“A Walk in the PARCC” is designed to keep the entire Madison learning community informed
as we transition to new educational standards and assessments. Please take a moment to
complete a brief survey to guide the development of future newsletters.
The survey can be accessed at