The states that use tests administered by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, voted yesterday to shorten test time and simplify test administration, according to a press release from the multi-state testing consortium’s governing board.
The change will consolidate the two PARCC testing windows into one and reduce total test time by about 90 minutes, representing an average 60-minute reduction in mathematics and a 30-minute reduction in English language arts, beginning in the 2015-16 school year. The change will also make test section times more uniform and reduce the number of test sections for each student by two or three, depending on grade level and subject.
The vote was a response to school district and teacher feedback during the first year of testing.
“New Mexico is delivering on our commitment to reduce testing time and continuously ensure that our students have the best educational experience possible,” said Hanna Skandera, New Mexico State Secretary of Education. “We’ve listened to the voices of all stakeholders—educators, parents, and students—and are using the lessons learned and feedback to produce a better assessment for New Mexico’s kids and administer a single testing window that reduces unnecessary work for educators across the state.”
This year’s PARCC testing was done in two parts, the “performance-based assessment” in early spring and the “end-of-year” tests in late spring, closer to end of the school year. Five million students in 11 states and the District of Columbia completed the PARCC assessments this year.
The single testing window in 2015-16 will be up to 30 days and will extend from roughly the 75-percent mark to the 90-percent mark of the school year. Most schools will complete testing in one to two weeks during that window.
PARCC’s governing board includes school leaders from Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, and Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia. Louisiana and Mississippi also are administering the PARCC assessments this year, as are the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Bureau of Indian Education.