The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) recently released assessment blueprints and test specifications for both the English language arts/literacy and mathematics assessments set to debut in 2014-15. These blueprints and test specifications will help educators better prepare students for the new online assessments that are aligned to the more rigorous Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and designed to measure college and career readiness.
“These tools will help educators assist staff in both teaching the CCSS and in designing common classroom-based assessments that will help students become college- and career-ready and to succeed on the PARCC assessments,” said Cindy Journell-Hoch, an Elementary Teacher Specialist for School Administration and Leadership for Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland.
The English language arts/literacy blueprints provide useful information to better understand the design of the assessments themselves, including ELA/literacy rubrics to guide thinking about classroom rubric use, ELA/literacy passage selection guidelines and worksheets to guide text selection for instruction.
“The PARCC evidence statements and tables are a much-needed step towards focus, coherence and rigor as we prepare for the PARCC assessments,” said Heather Brown, Illinois State Board of Education Area 1C Math Content Specialist. “They are necessary in providing clear expectations as teachers, districts and states transition to the CCSS.”
The mathematics evidence tables help readers further understand the integration of mathematical practices and content. They also provide greater detail about how standards can be combined, highlighting one of the most critical advances of the standards – their coherence. Furthermore, the documents in both content areas provide greater insight into the planned reporting categories for the PARCC summative assessments.
“The release of the blueprint and test specification materials comes at a time when teachers are eager to understand how PARCC will assess the CCSS,” said Wendi Anderson, Director for PARCC/Innovative Assessment at the Arizona Department of Education. “These materials allow teachers to see ‘under the hood’ of the assessment, to understand how the different elements work together to assess student mastery of the CCSS.”
Classroom teachers, state-level content experts, higher education faculty, PARCC staff members and consultants and ETS and Pearson staff conducted several rounds of review over the past year and a half to discuss and make revisions to the documents to ensure they reflected the highest quality alignment to the Common Core State Standards and the vision of the next-generation PARCC assessment system.
PARCC intends to continue to update the blueprints and test specifications to reflect the changing, iterative nature of the assessment development process.
For more information on the assessment blueprints and test specifications, including narrated overview PowerPoints and an FAQ document, visit: