The redesign of the test was approved Wednesday in a unanimous phone-conference vote by the board of governors of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. Eleven states and the District of Columbia belong to the consortium, which created tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The revised design will take effect with the 2015-16 PARCC tests in English/language arts and mathematics, which are given to students in grades 3-11.
In addition to shortening the test, the new design also folds PARCC’s two testing windows into one 30-day window, and requires that states wait until three-quarters of the way through the school year before starting the testing period.
Currently, PARCC states have a 12-week window to give the longer, more-complex performance tasks, between Feb. 16 and May 8. They have an eight-week window for the end-of-year component, which contains shorter-answer items: from April 13 to June 5. Within those windows, states choose 20-day periods in which to administer the tests.
Next year, states will have one 30-day period to give the tests. It can’t begin until 75 percent of instruction has been completed—day 133 in a 180-day instructional year—and it must be finished by the time 90 percent of instruction has been completed.
This year, teachers in states that began early—such as Ohio, which opened its testing season on Feb. 16—complained that they hadn’t had enough time to teach their material before testing began.
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