Fourth graders in our district will pilot the PARCC test in a few months. I know that many of you are looking for digital learning resources to prepare your students for digital testing next year. A previous post about digital learning everyday was the most viewed post I have ever had.
If you read that post, you were guided through steps to get to a practice test released by PARCC just a few days ago. Many of you took the test relevant to your grade level and posted your thoughts and observations on my Facebook page.
The most common comment I received was, "Wow! That was hard!" followed closely by, "Where do I find the answers to see if I was correct?".
That speaks volumes to me. These comments came from parents and veteran educators. Yes, it really is that dramatically different from what we are accustomed to.
Without further delay, here are the steps to the answers and rationale. Note: I could just put a link here, but I feel that each webpage is useful and offers more insight than this blog can offer. I encourage you to spend time reading the websites and viewing tests from your grade level band (one grade below and one grade above).
Go to PARCConline.org and click on "For Educators" tab at the top.
I have chosen to highlight 4th grade, as they will be piloting the test this year. For now, let's look at Math. By scrolling down, you will see 3 columns and prototype items. Select one.
On the left side, select the level you wish to view.
Select a sample item.
By selecting "Part A" at the top, you will be directed to the question page.
Take a minute to read it and find the solution. Thoughts? Was it as easy as A, B, C, or D? In fact, let me ask you this: how many equations did you have to do to find the answer to this one question? When you click on scoring (at the top right), you will see that it was no less than 3 equations.
This page shows the solution, as well as the rationale. Another new twist on the PARCC that we are not accustomed to is that students may get partial credit for questions. For instance, this question is worth 6 points, and students can score anywhere on that spectrum.
When you are done looking at the prototype questions and getting the answers to your questions, return to the tab on your browser for PARCC online.
This time, click one of the sample questions at the bottom. For instance, Subtraction Fluency.
This question seems like a typical 4th grade question. However, entering the answer may confuse some students. We teach our students to always start on the right side. If they subtract 3-2, they will try to enter 1. But, as an adult with experience with calculators, you know that the 1 will shift to the left when you enter the next digit.
I will highlight calculator games in the coming weeks on my series of STEM@home. Check back in a week, when I walk you through the accommodations for PARCC (another eye-opener!).