Let's take a look at some of the changes from last year (in no particular order).
Other New News!
PARCC has released test items...
...and advertised the Skill Builder Site.
It's that time of year again for IETC... The Illinois Education & Technology Conference in Springfield, IL. If you haven't attended before, I highly recommend it!
My session this year is titled "Additional PARCCing in the Rear" from 8:00-8:50 AM Friday in Capital II (L2-1). Topics in my presentation include "Changes for 2015-16", "Worth the Review" (from last year's PARCC presentation), "Test Make-up & Scoring", "Score Reporting", "PearsonAccess Next: Beyond Start, Resume & Stop" and "Tech Skills Tidbits".
View Presentation: Additional PARCCing in the Rear
For last year's IETC PARCC presentation, visit my November 2014 post in the Archives!
Welcome back to school year 2015-16!
There are changes ahead...
The major PARCC change this year is that PBA and EOY have been combined into one PARCC test that can be taken starting March 7th and continuing through a yet undetermined date in June. It is a 30 day window, as opposed to last year's 20 day windows. Math testing as a whole will be reduced by 60 minutes, and ELA by 30 minutes. Depending on your grade level, you will take 2 or 3 fewer tests this year. The time limits have been tweaked and in general may be a bit shorter and better standardized between testing units. Details can be found on this pdf from PARCC's web site.
TestNav has been updated as well. The Review screen has a different look, and the term "Flag" has been changed to "Bookmark". The TI Graphing Calculator will now save its state from problem to problem. Finally, the end of the practice test, when students submit their final answer, has an improved student report.
Stay tuned for more changes as they are announced!
It's hard to believe we're in the home stretch for the end of PARCC this year! If you're like us, EOY is running much more smoothly than PBA. Next school year should be SO much easier than this first one!
Don't forget your end of testing tasks such as shredding (test tickets, seal codes, etc.), recycling the manuals and keeping the important documents required by your state. Students all need to be in "Complete" status or "Marked Complete", then all sessions need to be stopped.
Wishing everyone a wonderful, refreshing summer break!
We did it! March's PARCC PBA online testing is complete. There were a few hiccups along the way, but we all learned a lot and did so relatively smoothly. I'm calling it a "win"!
What were the hiccups? On the test setup end, we had some incorrect accommodations and accessibility features that we were able to fix. Next time around, I will be double and triple checking those test forms. In terms of the online test itself, we had a few questions that got hung up or wouldn't let the students do what needed to be done. Those were not overwhelming. Most of the mathematics problems were in the editor window. Pearson gets a shout out for fixing some issues with testing even while it was in progress. They adapted when their fax was overwhelmed and took care of the submitting too early problem as well.
I'm planning on enjoying a break before May's EOY PARCC testing. Hope you do the same!
This is it - the long awaited March PBA PARCC testing window!
PARCC Points #6
PARCC Prep - Final Workout!
After practicing the tutorials and sample tests to get students and staff comfortable in that environment, this month students should actually work with "taking" the practice tests. Walk through items with them and model actual test taking and content. Have students compose and type that essay. Use the math expressions window to enter the answer and type an explanation. While only "temporary" scores are given, there's an answer key available on the practice test page for your grade level as well as a rubric for hand scoring of essays.
Field Test - Infrastructure Trial: Lessons Learned
If your school took part in the field test at the end of last school year or took part in Illinois' Infrastructure Trial on January 14, 2015, be sure to look back to them and utilize any "lessons learned". If not, you have the use of the practice tests to analyze your students' needs. Tech-wise, your tech department should be working on any fixes for issues that arose. Using the practice tests and tutorials should have gotten your students comfortable in the testing environment. In the classroom, however, content is your target. Were your students struggling with certain types of questions or required responses? Were they comfortable with the length and complexity of the readings? Did their essays address the questions, provide details and support, and utilize standard English conventions? Was their essay well organized? Now is the time to address any gaps!
PARCC Points #5
Tutorials and Practice Tests
While we took a look at PARCC's practice tests earlier, now is the time to dig deeply into them. It is essential that students as well as staff take the time to go through the appropriate tutorials and then practice the tech skills learned using the practice tests. Try out all of the tools, buttons and menus. Practice typing multiple paragraphs in the essay window. Practice using the various math tools and especially using the math expressions window (where students may also be asked to type text explanations or reasoning).
Additional Resources - ELA in the Disciplines, 6th - 8th
Tech Tips (to sharpen those Points!)
- Weebly (This blog!)
- Blogger (Google's Partner)
- Word Press
Online Drawing Programs
- PBWorks - http://www.pbworks.com/wikis.html
- Via Moodle or just Google wikis
Google Apps for Education:
IETC 2014 - Springfield IL!
Pam & Julie's Presentations:
- Six Tips for Writing Six-Word Memoirs
- Six Word Memoirs Workbook Tutorial
- Six Word Memoirs
- Instagrok Commercial
PARCC Points #4
Accessibility and Accommodations
As districts are asked this month, beginning November 7th, to start entering accessibility and accommodations into students' PNPs for SIS, it's the perfect time to take a closer look at them. The PARCC Online site linked to below contains details and will have the 3rd edition of the manual available soon.
- PARCC Online - Accessibility and Accommodations
- Accessibility and Accommodations Presentation
Note Taking for PARCC
This month I'd like to point out the importance of students learning and practicing the art of note taking. It is most apparent in PARCC as students plan to write essays and for noting information not just from readings but from videos. Take time at all grade levels to teach and model note taking, and give students lots of practice.
- Helping Children Build Notetaking Skills from Choice Literacy
- How to Take Great Notes Video (also in District Shared, District Staff folder)
- Taking Notes - Two-column Notes from WatchKnowLearn
Common Core in the Disciplines:
Social Studies/History, Science and Technical Subjects (6-8)
- The Standards
- Literacy in Other Disciplines
- History - Reading Like a Historian
- Science - Reading Science Texts
Additional Resources: Close Reading
- Close Reading Information
- Dr. McClennen's Close Reading Guide
- Exploring Complex Text with High Quality Questions - video
Units of Study and Common Core
Frameworks are used as a bridge between the Common Core Standards and the PARCC assessments. They are voluntary resources offered by PARCC for teachers as they implement the standards. They are just one of a number of ways the standards could be organized over the course of the school year. While specifics vary depending on grade levels, they all have some commonalities. All use units of study, 6 week modules K-2nd and quarterly units 3rd - 11th. These units include reading of complex texts, writing to texts, and a research project. Throughout the unit, foundational skills are taught in terms of citing evidence, analyzing content, studying and applying grammar, studying and applying vocabulary, conducting discussions (3-11) and reporting findings (3-11).
Information on the units of study for grades K-2 can be found at (see bottom of page for ELA and Math frameworks): http://www.parcconline.org/parcc-model-content-frameworks
The units of study for grades 3-11 can be found at: http://www.parcconline.org/mcf/ela/parcc-model-content-frameworks-browser
Tech Tips: (To sharpen those "points"!)
- Our district eBooks were purchased for unlimited simultaneous use. They are all non-fiction and can be found by linking to them from either building online card catalog or the building library's web page. Contact your library lab aide for the log in and password.
- Online fiction is easy to find. There's a list on our Web Links Online Books site.
- Introduction to PowerPoint Video
- PowerPoint Basics Video
- PowerPoint Layouts Video
- PowerPoint Backgrounds Video
- How-To Guide
- Publisher Basics PDF
- From Microsoft Office
- For those of you with newer versions:
> You Tube Tutorial
> Slide Share
> From Microsoft Office
Voice Recording (Sound Recorder)
- iPad free Sound Recorder app (many others are also available)
- Windows 7 Sound Recorder
Word - Word Tutorials
- Starting Off section: Working Area in Word video
- Basics section: Cut, Copy, Paste video
PARCC Points #3
This month we'll look at the types of questions on the PARCC assessments. You'll see examples of them all on PARCC's Practice Tests and Sample Items.
Types of ELA Questions
- PCR (Prose Constructed Response): Essay
- EBSR (Evidence-Based Selected-Response)
- Multiple Choice
- Two-part paired questions, second questions evidence to arrive at previous answer
- If first paired question is incorrect, second is always incorrect.
- TECR (Technology Enhanced Constructed Response)
- Two or three-part questions: comprehension question then return to text and manipulate it.
- First response must be correct to get credit for any that follow.
Scoring PCRs (Prose Constructed Responses): Present on PBA (March), not EOY (May)
- While there are separate rubrics for scoring Grade 3, Grades 4-5, and Grades 6-11, all use the same three categories (or constructed measures), scoring between 0 to 4 points each.
- 1. Reading: Comprehension of Key Ideas and Details - Writing must show full comprehension of the text and reference the text explicitly. Depth increases by grade level.
- 2. Writing: Knowledge of Language and Conventions - Writing must demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English with few minor errors (ranging to frequent distracting errors for a "0") in grammar and usage, and have clear meaning throughout the response.
- 3. Writing: Written Expression - Response should
- address the prompt, show effective development of the topic, use reasoning, details,
text-based evidence, with appropriate development (grades 6-11 logical, well-executed
progression of ideas).
- demonstrate consistent, purposeful and controlled organization - with (a strong) introduction
- Use linking words and phrases, descriptive words and/or temporal words to express ideas with
clarity (grades 4-11 includes concrete words and phrases, sensory details, linking and
transitional words, domain-specific vocabulary)
- Narrative elements
- Grades 3-5 may include establishing a situation, organizing a logical event sequence,
describing scenes, objects or people, developing characters personalities, and using
dialogue as appropriate.
- Grades 6 -8 include 3-5's elements as well as establishing a context, situating events in time.
and place, developing a point of view, developing characters' motives.
- Grades 9-11 include 3-8's elements as well as outlining step-by-step procedures, creating one
or more points of view, and constructing event models of what happened.
Types of Math Questions:
- There are three types of math problems that assess key knowledge and skills, ask students to express mathematical reasoning and construct a mathematical argument, and apply concepts to solve model real-world problems.
- Type I: Concepts, skills and procedure type questions are machine scored.
- Type II: Expressing mathematical reasoning is machine and hand scored.
- Type III: Modelling/application in real-world context is machine and hand scored.
- PBA (Progress Based Assessment in March) math tests are a combination of Types I, II & III.
- EOY (End of Year in May) math tests are all Type I.
What about Common Core ELA in Social Science, Science and Technical Subjects?
Next month we will take a closer look at this. There is a structure or framework for teaching the Common Core standards as well for the creation of the PARCC assessment itself. PARCC's web site states that the "instruction of reading, writing, speaking, listening and language is a shared responsibility within schools. All fields of study demand analysis of complex texts and strong oral and written communication skills using discipline-specific discourse. Because each discipline acquires, develops and shares knowledge in distinct ways, educators in each field must take ownership of building robust instruction around discipline-specific literacy skills...The Model Content Frameworks provide all educators with foundational ideas for incorporating disciplinary literacy skills and practice into their instructional programming."
Tech Tips: (To sharpen those "points"!)
Remember, all of the You Tube videos below are available in the District Shared, District Staff folder!
- Today's students are expected to be media literate.
- Movie Maker Basics Video Tutorial
- What's new in Movie Maker for Windows 7? (Video for those who know the basics of Movie Maker)
- Again, today's students are expected to be media literate.
- Photo Story Video Tutorial
- Note: You can customize motion for photos that you added text to.
Research: Clearly an important part of Common Core and PARCC!
- Do your students know how to search?
- Search Tips Video
- 10 Search Techniques (to make you a "Google Search Star")
- You can use Control/F to search any web page (or electronic document)
- What is a sidebar?
- Electronic dictionaries/glossaries
- A bonus feature (as opposed to a traditional dictionary) is the audio feature. Use it!
- Make sure you use a reputable source as there are a lot of online dictionaries available.
- Our Web Links: Online Dictionaries (Library, Reference)
Storybook Weaver Deluxe
- Ease your students' transition from creating pictures with small amounts of text to using a full fledged word processor with software such as Storybook Weaver Deluxe.
- Video Tutorial, Quick Overview
- There are also buttons for background music per page, sounds for when an object is chosen, buttons to enlarge or reduce the size of objects as well as flip their orientation.