Wednesday, January 13, 2016

CPPAC tonight: testing

starting with presentation on testing from WPS admin
Perda: not really a great year to look at results, first of two year test drive in which stuck with MCAS and others tried PARCC

PARCC developed by a consortium, stemmed from idea that many states have developed their own statewide tests, designed to ensure that kids meet certain standards and schools are held accountable
have had MCAS going back to 1998 in Massachusetts
if there is significant overlap between these tests, there could be a single test
initially there were a handful of states who stayed with their own tests; most jumped in with one or the other (or both)
during development, states dropped out: autonomy, Common Core seen as issues
PARCC suggested that there might be some different models: "like a menu, perhaps"
don't know what it's going to look like yet
know that Massachusetts will not simply adopt PARCC and move forward with it; MCAS 2.0
"will be more like PARCC" computer based, state will keep control of material,
material developed by assessment development committee
expected that there will be MCAS 2.0 for 2016 school year
accountability system has metrics based on testing: that system will stay in place in 2016 and 2017, but schools will be held harmless with regards to testing ("it could go down for some of these other things")
"I didn't think that this was a good year to talk about district results, as about 40% of schools did PARCC and the rest did's complicated to look at the trend lines on that"
Worcester is going to be a hybrid approach again this year; some schools are selecting PARCC, and some are staying with MCAS
Q? why an option? State gave the option to districts.
Q? how has testing impacted kids? graduation rates up, dropout rates down, are they more prepared?
"if you believe in these tests and what they're purported to measure, I think the answer is yes."
Important to know that there are other pathways if students don't pass MCAS in 10th grade
also is an MCAS appeal process
Also wanted to make sure that you're aware of the array of testing that goes on in the system

Divided into state tests, district tests, some additional tests:
Work Sampling for MKEA (started in 2012-13): work sampling and observation based assessment in November and June; includes portfolio, observational checklists, and summary reports
"this ground is possibly changing pretty soon" as this came through RTTT funding
ACCESS for ELLs (going on districtwide right now, and on computers for the first time) for students who are learning English in listening, reading, writing, and speaking
once they exit ELL status, they no longer take this
MCAS (gr. 3-8, 10) ELA, math, science (5,8,9-12)
first up this year is Bio in early February
testing per day? shortest is a half hour; longest is 60-75 minutes; that's sessions each day
"shortened things this year because last year was...ridiculous"
PARCC is timed, so students really can't sit for more than that time
MCAS isn't timed ('though it can't go for more than one day per segment)
PARCC up to about 2/3rd of Worcester's schools (true statewide, BTW)
timed test: concern for students, 'though none of them used anything close to the time allowed
Q regarding exposure to technology: anxiety of taking a test on a computer, in addition to the test itself
that's why this year it's not a good comparison year, either, due to exposure to technology
familiarity with using the mouse, the keyboard
technology readiness assessment: schools in Worcester largely met that last year
"schools that did it on the computer by and large did not do as well as we would have expected them to"
"from a measurement perspective the administration of the test on paper or on computer should not have made a difference"
Q: touch-based rather than keyboard based
could use tablet for PARCC, but didn't go as well; students really struggled with the interface on touchpad
"we have been doing computer-based testing in Worcester for quite some was more some of the features that were new"
PARCC will be structured differently this year: last year there was a performance-based section and an end of year section; "it kind of made it feel that it was twice as much testing"
made it one section "and they narrowed them down significantly"..."It's a much shorter assessment this time around"
if your student took something last year, should have received results by now
results should be a little bit quicker this year
the following is district assessment for Worcester
Early screening inventory literally the first assessment a student receives in our district assessing how ready a student is for kindergarten, taken before kindergarten starts; if not ready, referred for special ed services
DIBELS basic early literacy skills: one minute fluency measures in K-1; individually administered at the beginning, middle, and end of the year
Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark formative reading assessment in grades 1 and 2 ('though some schools may do it in K and grade 3-8) in 58 reading "little books" levels; administered at the beginning, middle, and end of the year; takes 45 minutes per child per test
MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) adaptive, computer based assessment in reading and math; test adapts to questions that child answers. grades 2-10. Identifies what a student "can do with some help" Winter and spring ELA and math are optional for schools. NOTE FOR PARENTS: These now have parent progress reports available; ask for them! 
"I'd encourage you to access this data, but to supplement them with other data"
Q parents need better information: numbers don't mean anything without explanation
additional assessments
Advanced Placement
PSAT offered to all grades 10 and 11 students during the school day for free
SAT Subject

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