Saturday, December 7, 2013

PARCC presentation for MASC

by Bob Bickerton, Senior Associate Commissioner for DESE
Maureen LaCroix, Special Assistant to Deputy Commissioner

And they're holding all questions to the end. Posting as we go

Bickerton: "an important conversation...PARCC becoming more imminent....meeting with policy leaders across the state"
open public meetings in the new year
works with curriculum and instruction offices and works with PARCC National
LaCroix: has worked with the department for a year, retired superintendent of schools (was principal of Quabbin at one point)
"serve as connector between the field and the department" (worked on RETELL last year)
"what does PARCC look like in schools..our teachers...our kids"
"PARCC not designed to be a got-you"
"wanted MCAS to be a comprehensive assessment system, but we never got to that"
"PARCC will move us to that next step"
"not about penalizing teachers, not about penalizing students"
ELA and math tests in grades 3-11, computer-based for use in the 2014-15 school year
"what's most challenging about that" computer-based
"very different delivery goal than what MCAS had...starting at the third grade is are these students on track for college and career...assess these kids at a very young age"
wait before first implementation of PARCC
two parts to PARCC: performance-based assessment ( typical MCAS time) and end of year (EOY)
performance-based is hand scored by teachers; given in March and April, results ready in June
End of year also ready in June
Goal is that result will be in hands of parents and teachers by end of school year
"provided that they are at least as comprehensive and rigorous as our current MCAS assessment if not more so"
"have to have a test that will measure those (Common Core) standards" except that DESE elsewhere says that MCAS does as of this spring
MCAS doesn't measure college and career ready
PARCC will demand "strong reading, writing, crticial thnking, and analytical skills"
"will spur changes in classroom instruction"
"don't just stay still with high quality...that's what high-quality teaching and instruction looks like"
PARCC has received $186 million to create this test..."could never get that sort of funding within a single state"
"working with high quality educators from across the nation"
Massachusetts "play a key leadership and hands on role" in design and development of the PARCC assessments
believe it will provide "a more robust assessment system"
"more comprehensive system...performance based assessment, technology enhanced results"
answers "how students are doing when teachers need this information"
Bickerson "help answer and fill gaps that we haven't answered yet", saying that MCAS was always intended to be a system, but never got there
I will leave the irony of having DESE say what critics of the MCAS have been saying for twenty years to you
May/June technology enhanced items, tooMay/June technology enhanced items, too BUT there will be a paper and pencil option due to technology gaps

"other optional tools, resources being developed"

K-1 formative assessments, diagnostic assessments for 2-8 (note to Worcester: don't be surprised if that moves towards MAP being phased out locally)

"computer-adapted delivery" moves the bar as the student shows that they can do the work (like the MAP does) note that SMARTER-Balanced does this with their actual test. PARCC does not

K-1 is a set activities, learning units, assessments that fit within the learning units

mid-year assessments (again optional) performance based, on hard to measure standards, potentially can be used as summative

PARCC will assess three types of writing in every grade (3-11): literary analysis, narrative writing, research
MCAS assesses writing in grades 4,7, and 10
PARCC sample given asks students to read three texts and "consider the argument each author uses to demonstrate Earnhart's bravery. Write an essay that analyzes the strength of the arguments about Earhart's bravery in at least two of the texts. Remember to use textual evidence to support your ideas."

Field test: this is a national field test
field test "is not about testing students; it's about testing the test"
"we believe we have good items, but you don't know until you put them out there"
intended to examine quality of items so that PARCC can build assessment forms for the 2014-15
if Massachusetts does not participate in the field test, there will not be another
also to pilot assessment administration: "what is it like"

Field test: 1.2 million students nationwide
Massachusetts: 75,000 students in 350 districts, in over 1100 schools
nearly 700 schools will administer computer-based; 400 paper and pencil; schools were not given a choice (all randomly chosen)
will have a choice in spring of 2015, when the results count
will use results of field test to evaluate rigor of PARCC items in fall of 2014 (when results of spring are in)
independent reviews to evaluate PARCC's readiness
will also then analyze results of spring 2015 over summer of 2015 to report out to Board in fall of 2015

most MA accommodations have been adopted by PARCC
will be built into the computer-based assessment (only to students with special ed and ELL needs)

MCAS testing exemptions: in order to avoid "double-testing" the Commissioner "has extended the option to superintendents to exempt certain classes that participate in the PARCC field test from the 2014 MCAS tests"
"this raises some concerns"
districts want MCAS information
also, what happens with accountability systems?
no school's scores will be disadvantaged because it participated in the field test
to maintain trends as we move from MCAS to PARCC: PPI will be calculated with and without field tested grades and the better results will count
LaCroix: Board of Ed: sets state standards, adopt system for assessment
"field testing the assessment is part of the statute" it isn't
Board of Ed voted in November to use a two year tryout
spring of 2014 field test
early fall 2014 analysis of field test
late fall 2014 report to Board of ed on field test and administration of it
winter/spring 2014/15: MA schools administer PARCC OR MCAS in grades 3-8. All grade 10 to take MCAS (for graduation)
decision will be made by districts
summer of 2015: "standard setting for PARCC" this is when the cut scores will be set; right now thinking that they will have five levels...will have a "competency level" will graduation
highest one, possibly two will be considered "college and career ready" will not need to take Accuplacer, will simply be accepted as ready for state colleges

PARCC decison will be based on rigor (of PARCC items), quality (readiness to deliver a quality assessment), opportunity (capacity to assess standards and measure skills and abilities that we can't with MCAS)

last time technology was bonded at the state level was 1990
"not about the assessment...can't just bring laptops in the day of the test and say 'have at it'"
"are we in fact ready to take advantage of that; many schools are not"
hasn't been enough of a catalyst; test as a catalyst to upgrade technology
PARCC is intended to be "device agnostic" with certain minimum requirements
there will be a paper/pencil option at least through 2015-16
House has passed a bond of at least $38 M; with a matching requirement for the local district; has not yet been taken up by Senate,

and might not be taken up until spring
Erate: "not clear if they will increase money or keep it the same"
retooled to help schools with this technology issue
BOTH of these is about infrastructure: thus this is about bandwidth, not devices
Maine has had a one-to-one laptop system; rebidding, and have invited other states to participate in rebid
regional workshops for technology readiness: training, site readiness, customer support center
scheduling presenations and community outreach to teachers, parents, community organizations, policy makers, along with webinars for school employees
sample letter coming from DESE for PARCC in January (optional)

through the graduation class of 2018 (at least) required MCAS
also MCAS science test continues (as there is no science in PARCC)

math teacher speaking : note that both PowerPoints will be on the MASC website

PARCC fellow Sharon DeCicco who teaches math at Oakmont Regional

there are 24 PARCC fellows from K-12 and higher ed to "become network of in-state experts on the CCSS and PARCC"
essentially: have not yet developed the cut scores for PARCC, still determining "competency" levels (and there may be more than one)
Model Content Frameworks sent to testing companies which create test items, which then are sent back to review committee
big push here on teachers reviewing items at state level: there is a (small) group of teachers that review MCAS items and now will review PARCC items
Performance-based assessment administered near 70% completion (April/March)
if, in high school, there is a block schedule, ELA will happen in spring, regardless; math will be done per semester, once there is implementation of PARCC
End-of-year (May/June) at 90% completion
As these will be done across the country, and school years vary, they're figuring that out
math "deeper look into fewer standards" think across grades and major topics
knowing, for example, working with fractions and mixed numbers by fifth grade
"pursue conceptional understanding, procedural skill and fluency, application"
comparison of number of standards in number of areas on grades, making argument that either change was not that big or that change was an improvement
"narrowed down the number of standards per year...I think that for elementary teachers, it's a sigh of relief"
making sense of problems and perserve in solving them
vertical alignment: moving from one grade to another

within PARCC on the computer, students will have a chance to go back to something earlier
"reasonable amount of time students need to complete"
Note that you can find samples of PARCC questions here
And take a look, because it's sure not looking like some of the things my kids have seen...
there are questions that require multiple answers; there also are questions that have multiple steps
"show and explain your answer"
DESE model instruction units: 85 currently online in Pre-K through high school
science units will posted once the MA revised science frameworks are adopted by Board of Ed (possibly). Happening in two years as an acknowledgement of amount currently happening in district
note here from Bickerton that DESE is not the business of developing curriculum; these are optional
written by teachers
suggestion that teachers need professional development time, supplies, and technology for Common Core and for PARCC
"teachers can't do this during prep"
"may not need new books, but need time to figure out the resources"
bandwidth question to keep classes online
opinion that students who transfer from another state have the same standards and if they all have the same test, we'll know where they are
note that 44 states are using Common Core; 14 are using PARCC

amount of time of PARCC versus amount of time of MCAS? clarification of time on testing versus testing window
Bickerton: estimated time typical student will take to do the test, then extra time given because typical student doesn't mean everyone: for PARCC...estimated time is just under ten hours for both tests, both subjects
in MCAS, entire day is set aside;in PARCC, 50% more than typical time. "It is timed in PARCC"
"would allow you to return to instruction"
students that are entitled to an accommodation of extra time due to IEP
performance assessement in now MCAS window; end of year in June
"number of days set aside from instruction" will necessarily be smaller
"too much time on testing/why not give unlimited time"
"research is pretty clear: 50% more time tends to give same performance as unlimited time"
some dispute of this from members
Q: How realistic is it that students are going to go back to teaching after the test?
teacher from Oakmont says that they do and is convinced that it does not have an issue
PARCC sessions are designed to be 60 minutes to 75 minutes: works differently in different schools
particular concern about elementary here
Q: technology: how do I recoup the money that I've already spent, if the bond goes through?
Bickerton: does not know of a process for recouping prior year, but "should not just reward the districts that do this last"
suggests that we should let legislators know
Q: why are we not allowing students to use their own devices?
LaCroix: variability in schools, some doing BYD, not everyone ready to make that leap
"I think that what you're describing is not so far in the future"
comparability of experience of students; concern about security
Q:students that do not have computers at home, technology at home; test is going to test ability to use computer: how do you handle that?
Bickerton: agreed, first place to encounter these should not be on the test
make sure that what happens online is as close to what happens on pencil and paper as possible; thus, holding back on what is done on the computer to ensure comparability of two systems
study going on now with students; at field test, looking at impact of technology gap on student assessment
items will be assessed accordingly
increasing numbers of items online for PARCC so teachers can try out the computer kind with their students ahead of time
"going to cost us $2 more per test to do it on paper, so why not move to the newer version that is cheaper to deliver?"
costs us $23 a test to deliver an MCAS test; PARCC costs $15 (and could go lower)
Q: for 2014-15 year, district decision to use PARCC or MCAS; then state will decide if we go to PARCC or stay with MCAS. Students to experience and learn in this type of environment, anxiety that students are experiencing on testing
teacher: up to teachers and administrators to sit down with students to explain test and now we're going to into the 'has to be testing, etc etc'
Bickerton: adult literacy students who had high school diplomas
anxiety, is it preparing students better for what they need to do next?
Q: children perform and learn in different ways; weakness of some is ELA. If there are any questions that resemble those, students may well fail who are without an IEP. Concerned about respecting the student
part of field test
will be considered on field test
recommendation that field test is testing the test, not testing the student
Q: testing companies are who?
MCAS is Measured Progress; testing company in 2014-15 is not yet sent out to bid
things are being developed right now by Pearson and ETS
Q: what about career based questions; only seeing college questions?
Board has members concerned about students who go right into work; task force on this issue
academics needed for college and needed "to make choices after high school" are about the same
task force has a report: will continue the conversation
Q: have we developed a curriculum for keyboarding skills in grades 1 and 2? if assessing writing at grade 3, need to know keyboard.
state does not have an answer if writing will be online for grade 3; how well does online writing work for grade 3
question also if students are developmentally ready
funny space for students at the other end: students taking PARCC, then go back to MCAS for graduation
class of 2018 is in grade 8 now, so will take MCAS. Next year in grade 9, so no test. In grade 10, will take MCAS for graduation.
class of 2019 is in grade 7...have not yet answered if those students will have MCAS or PARCC for a graduation requirement. PARCC is an end of course test, rather than an end of domain test.
Q: what kind of information will be available to districts if you take PARCC in spring 2015?
all of it: school, district, student results
Q: do testing companies have any responsibilities to us, as they are making money off of us?
ETS and Pearson: value we get is good items, only get paid for those
huge liquidation damages (reference to Florida)
I suspect that this is not actually answering the question
Q: long answer: paper and pencil?
Q: please elaborate on it being an "assessment system"
choices at district level around using other tests at other parts of testing (diagnosic, etc)
Q: we were talking about portfolios, not other tests
Q this one from me: anxiety not coming from parents and teacher; enough of that from state level. Accountability levels essentially have trapped districts into continuing with MCAS this spring, even with double testing. How will Accountability go in spring 2015?
Bickerton: PARCC states have a given test percent goes into evaluation of teachers; not Massachusetts
if a district goes PARCC, you can only go forward in accountability (in spring 2015); you cannot be penalized or go down in level
Q: accommodations for special ed; get the message clear. Blind student
Bickerton: "we will do right by that student"
and that's a wrap



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