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The primary purpose of sharing item and task prototypes is to provide information and to support educators as they transition to the CCSS and the PARCC assessments. The dynamic, online prototypes presented on the PARCC website are designed to shine a light on important elements of the CCSS and to show how critical content in the standards may be manifested on PARCC’s next-generation, technology-based assessments.
The PARCC sample items and tasks can and should be viewed as one of the many types of materials educators can use during the transition to the CCSS and PARCC.
In addition to educators, students and parents may also find the sample items and tasks to be a useful resource for learning more about the CCSS and how state assessments may appear in the future.
The prototypes provided to date represent just a beginning to the complement of items and tasks that will be shared over time to represent the full range of assessment tasks that will be included on actual PARCC assessments beginning in 2014-2015. Additional prototypes and rubrics will be added over the coming months to paint a more complete picture of the PARCC assessment design in each content area and grade level.
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The item and task prototypes were developed primarily for the purposes of communications and training. They are not test samplers, and are not meant to mirror full-length assessments.
Because the prototypes have been developed and selected to illustrate shifts in the CCCS, they may not appear exactly in the form they will take when included on actual PARCC assessments. For example, PARCC intends to embed in the items certain supports that will provide students with additional needs increased access (e.g., control over font size, background color). The full range of supports are not provided at this time. To ensure consistent stylistic elements, future PARCC assessment items will be written to adhere to criteria addressed in the soon to be completed print and computer assessment item style guides.
While the prototypes have been reviewed by content and assessment experts in PARCC states, they have not undergone the extensive review process and field testing that will be carried out before any items are included on actual PARCC assessments.
PARCC assessments will be tightly aligned to the Common Core State Standards and grounded in the key shifts at the heart of the Common Core State Standards. There are three shifts in mathematics and three in English language arts (ELA)/literacy, described below. These are shifts the Standards require of teachers and students – and they will be reflected in the PARCC assessments as well. This will help ensure that the assessments mirror the expectations of the classroom.
Better standards require better tests – and the shifts in the standards call for critical advances in assessment quality. PARCC will develop custom items and tasks aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
In regards to the ELA/Literacy assessments, this means PARCC will include:
In regards to the mathematics assessments, this means PARCC will include:
A critical element to creating next generation assessments is the development of innovative assessment items that support implementation of the CCSS, and the shifts in instructional practice that the CCSS represent. As PARCC’s item development work proceeds, the Partnership is committed to keeping educators informed throughout the process in an effort to facilitate planning, training, and other preparations necessary for states, districts, and schools to be ready for the implementation of PARCC assessments in the 2014-2015 school year. Toward that commitment, PARCC is providing this initial set of prototype items intended to illustrate the types of advances in technology and advances in assessment quality that underlie the PARCC assessment design.
The selected prototypes demonstrate a variety of item question and response styles, uses of technology, and student interactivity, as well as a range of grade level appropriateness, for both mathematics and English language arts/literacy. The prototypes range from simple to more complex, reflecting the diversity of items that will be necessary for constructing the full assessment. The examples provided are intended to model different assessment typologies. They are not fully functional items—nor do they reflect the final display, wording, or interactivity that assessment items will ultimately contain.
Over time, additional prototypes will be shared to represent more grade levels, with broader representation of the types of technology-enabled and question/response styles PARCC is developing. Future items released by PARCC will also reflect the PARCC Style Guides for Print and Computer-Based items currently under development.
The PARCC development process prioritized understanding the Standards and high quality instruction first. To ensure that the assessment will be based on a rich model of instruction aligned with the CCSS, the PARCC Model Content Frameworks for educators were developed based on the Standards before the assessment blueprints were designed. The Model Content Frameworks were developed through a state-led process led by mathematics and ELA/literacy content experts in PARCC member states, including teachers, higher education representatives, and members of the Common Core State Standards writing team. The Frameworks highlight key elements of excellent instruction aligned with the CCSS, and in turn, informed the assessment blueprint design.
PARCC’s ELA/Literacy assessments are being designed to align tightly to the CCSS. At the heart of the PARCC assessment design are the CCSS shifts, which ground PARCC’s advances in assessment. Before viewing the sample illustrative items, review the PARCC PowerPoint slides on the shifts and assessment advances for ELA/Literacy.
Accessing Sample Passages and Items
Sample passages and associated items have been grouped by grade to allow quick and easy access. Additional samples are in development and will be added as they are completed.
Draft rubrics are also included in the available materials to help support a stronger understanding of what the Prose Constructed Response items are asking students to know and be able to do. These rubrics are in draft form but can be used as a reference until they are refined by additional student responses during the completion of the pilot and field test. These draft rubrics are general and will be used as the basis for creating item-specific rubrics for each illustrative sample item and each operational PARCC item.
Click on one of the grades below to access ELA/Literacy Sample passages, items and rubrics
PARCC’s Mathematics assessments are being designed to align tightly to the CCSS-M. At the heart of the PARCC assessment design are the CCSS shifts, which ground PARCC’s advances in assessment. Before viewing the sample illustrative items, review the PARCC PowerPoint slides on the shifts and assessment advances for Mathematics.
Accessing Sample Items
Sample items have been grouped by grade to allow quick and easy access. Additional samples are in development and will be added as they are released.
Click on one of the grades below to access Mathematics sample items.
Click here for a direct link to the PARCC Prototype Project for Mathematics.
PARCC is committed to providing all students with equitable access to its high quality assessments. PARCC assessment items and tasks are being developed using principles of Universal Design. Universal Design principles are applied in all kinds of environments to make things as usable as possible by all, regardless of age, ability or life status.
In the area of student assessment, this means writing items and tasks free of design features that are irrelevant to the content being assessed. For example, a commitment to using plain language, rather than unnecessarily complex language structures in a mathematics problem, allows all students the opportunity to better demonstrate their mathematical understanding. This is especially important for English language learner (ELLs) for whom complex English language structures in test items could interfere with a student’s ability to demonstrate his or her mathematics skills and knowledge.
In its commitment to Universal Design, PARCC will ensure accessible test administration as well as accessible assessment design. Accordingly, PARCC will take advantage of its computer-based assessments to build in supports that are not possible with paper-based tests. For example, students will be able to control the size of the text in a question to meet their needs; supporting all students, and making it less likely that students with some visual impairments will require special accommodations.
All students will have access to certain word processing tools to write their essays, but one that will be especially helpful to those students for whom “consistent, even print, rather than hand written print,” allows for greater ease of written expression. Illustrations of items with these and similar accessibility features will be demonstrated on future additions to this website.
While external accommodations may still be needed for some students to demonstrate what they know and can do, use of principles of Universal Design and the built-in supports will increase access to the greatest number of students taking the assessments, and greatly reduce the burden on school staff to provide extensive accommodations during testing.