Classroom Selection Guidance

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Classroom Selection Guidance for PARCC Field Test 


It is important that classrooms are randomly selected for the PARCC Field Test. The following are guidelines for selecting classes to participate in the PARCC Field Test for a given grade/course test (not applicable to Colorado or Mississippi). 

  • Each district received a letter from Pearson, PARCC’s field test contractor, indicating the number of classes selected in each grade/course. Classes in this instance are synonymous with “classrooms.”
  • If a school was selected for “PBA & EOY,” students selected for the “PBA & EOY” component must take both the PBA and the EOY field tests. In other words, the same students must take both components.
  • A classroom must include a minimum of 10 students – any classrooms with less than 10 students will be considered a “self-contained” classroom (see instructions below for self-contained classrooms).
  • Schools should not select classrooms that are comprised primarily of English language learners in their first year in U.S. schools. If an English learner in the first year of school in the US is in a selected classroom, that student should not take the PARCC field test.
  • For each sampled grade/content or course, the school will randomly select the designated number of classrooms for participation in the field test. It is important that the classrooms are randomly selected.
  • All high school mathematics assessments were sampled by course, not by grade. Therefore, if a school has classes with students from multiple grades within a high school course, all students enrolled in the course should be included in the course classroom regardless of their grade.
  • Two school officials must be present during the classroom selection process to ensure that the appropriate process for random selection is carried out (e.g., Principal and School Test Coordinator, School Test Coordinator and Technology Coordinator, etc.).
  • Use the following process to select students/classes: 
  1. Assign each classroom a number (e.g. Classroom 1 to classroom x).
  2. Instructions for self-contained classrooms: Prior to selecting classes for the sampled grade/course, distribute names of all students in self-contained special program classrooms (e.g., students with disabilities, English language learners, gifted and talented, classes with fewer than 10 students, etc.) into the rosters of grade- or course-appropriate general education classrooms. For example, if you have five classrooms (each larger than 10 students) and you have seven additional students that are not in one of these five classroom, you should assign each one of the seven students to one of the five classrooms (as if they are in those classrooms). Do this assignment randomly and as evenly as possible (i.e. do not assign all to the same classroom). This will support inclusion of special instructional groups in the selected sample.
  3. If the designated number of sampled classes is equal to the number of general education classes in that grade or course, all classes will participate in the field test.
  4. If the designated number of sampled classes is less than the number of general education classes in that grade or course, use PARCC’s random number generator (see instructions below) to identify the classes that will participate in the field test sample.
  5. This process must be repeated for each grade/course the school has been selected to participate.

To see an example of the process described above, please see page 3 of the guidance here.

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