August 6, 2014

PARCC Technology Determinations

PARCC is designed as a computer-based assessment that adds new elements to the old multiple-choice format and allows for a better measure of students’ skills and abilities. Using technology-enhanced items and various other innovations, students will get a chance to better showcase their skills and results will become available for use more quickly.

The ultimate goal is for the PARCC summative assessment to be administered online in all schools. Realistically, this goal will take a few more years. So, for the first few years, as schools continue to update their equipment and infrastructure, PARCC will be available as a paper-based test for schools who lack the capacity needed to test online. Implementation of computer-based testing may not occur all at one time across a district, or even within a building. There will be some buildings that will have the capability to test some grade levels (grades 3-8) or content areas (high school) online, and will need to test other grade levels or content areas in the same building using a pencil/paper format.

To determine which method students will use to take the test, ISBE is developing a technology readiness tool that will be used to gather information about the technological capabilities of a school. The schools and the state will work together with this tool and additional data to capture the necessary information for a decision to be made. From there, it will be determined if schools will test online, on paper, or using a combination of both. More information will be communicated on this in the coming weeks.