Category Archives: PARCC Headphones

Implementation of Common Core in Ohio

On June 18, 2010, Ohio officially adopted the Common Core standards. Like all states, no one really cared about its passage until 2013 turned it into a controversy. Supported by teachers, unions, the PTA and even Governor John Kasich, the rigorous standards appeared a great option until the controversy swept in. Since then, it’s been a back and forth with politics driving the wedge between opponents and proponents even deeper.

2010-11

In this early period, Ohio both adopted the standards and was awarded one of the Race to the Top educational grants. One year later, they joined the developmental effort to create standardized tests that matched the Core’s curriculum, an initiative led by PARCC and Smarter Balanced. It was a relatively slow time in terms of debate.

2013

Then, from seemingly out of nowhere, the opposition grew fast and strong. Often cited as being fueled by conservatives as well as other states successfully stopping their own implementations of Common Core, bills began appearing calling for the total repeal of the standards. Even though the entire education committee stood behind the Core because it introduced the most rigorous standards Ohio had ever seen, opponents seemed to be crawling at their chance to pass legislation that would stop it. Many even admit to having never even heard about the standards until implementation really kicked into gear to prep for testing in 2014.

2015

Though naysayers continued throughout 2014 to shut down the Core, Ohio stood strong, continuing forward until this year’s first round of official testing. Much like anything new, though, it met with plenty of bugs that left the school’s less than pleased. Including crashes and what was widely considered to be a waste of time, lawmakers have been quick to move toward scrapping PARCC altogether in favor of a multiple standardized testing system where each district gets to choose their own test.

In response to this, PARCC Chairman Char Shylock is continuing to fight hard for the test they’ve worked so hard to build, citing that new things are always hard. They will have issues. However, the company is responding to and fixing everything reported to them, exemplifying this by a reported 85% drop in calls to their help center following the first trial.

Even still, both Republicans and Democrats in Ohio are actually agreeing. Both sides support a multi-test system. In their eyes, it’s the only way for school districts to assign tests that accurately measure their students’ improvements over the course of the kids’ educational careers.

While the debates still rage on, it’s no longer about repealing Common Core so much as it is about how best to mold it to fit the needs of the students in Ohio. With total implementation finally over, the hardest part now is deciding how to turn it into state standards that everyone can be happy with.

Louisana and Common Core Confusion

Amid relatively calm political waters, Louisiana formally adopted the Common Core July 1, 2010. Like as it is in the majority of states, the shift to the new standards went unopposed up until 2013. Suddenly, those that helped usher it in stood in staunch defiance against it. Most notably, Governor Bobby Jindal has been trying his hardest to apply pressure to have it removed altogether.

The Delay

The first bout of opposition occurred in 2013 when Superintendent of Education John White announced that the implementation, most notably how students and teachers were to be judged, would be delayed. This was followed up by a 10 year plan to make sure implementation was done correctly, based heavily on the call for more time by Louisiana educators.

As far as the students were concerned, the Core standardized test, PARCC, would only be given to students in grades 3 through 8 only, saving high schoolers from a dramatic change in schooling that could negatively affect them before college. While the wait was well received, many educators remained skeptical. They’d been complaining about the poor implementation since 2010 and were unsure if the delay would actually change things for the better or merely delay the inevitable.

The Confusion

A year later, in 2014, Jindal called for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as the Louisiana Legislature to completely replace the Common Core with a Louisiana option. This did nothing but throw the state back into confusion over the Core. Educators refused to do such a thing, seeing the standards as a chance for the less-than-stellar Louisiana educational system to finally reward its students with a meaningful curriculum. Jindal took the age old stance that the standards were a move to increase the government’s control.

News sources were quick to point out Jindal’s flip on the issue. While a staunch supporter back in the days of adoption, it wasn’t until a conservative outcry appeared that his stance switched. Because he sees himself as a presidential hopeful in the coming election, though many were surprised at his change of heart, none were confused as to why he did so.

The Lawsuit

Because of this, a group of teachers, parents and charter schools joined forces and filed a lawsuit against Jindal. They claimed his actions did nothing but sow discord all the while displaying his overstepping his bounds as Governor. The accusers were quick to point out the Core is to help the children, not further Jindal’s political motivations. While Jindal’s executive order to remove the Core ultimately failed in light of the Superintendent’s defiance, the plaintiffs saw to strip away further power from Jindal by preventing a delay he tried to cause with a test maker. Though torn about Common Core politically, this only serves to show that everyone outside of politics in Louisiana supports the promise the Core brings to the state.

Raising the Bar – Iowa Core Standards

As of July 29, 2010, Iowa became yet another adopter of Common Core. Because these standards are adopted and altered at a state level, Iowa’s take on it has officially been dubbed Iowa Core. Since then, the public school system has been working hard to overhaul its set up to meet the standards set forth by those that built the foundation of Common Core.

 

Iowa Core

It’s understood that a great school system is comprised of a clear set of standards that all students must reach. Teachers must be the means by which the students then achieve these goals. Iowa Core does just this by unifying standards across the state. It highlights exactly what students should know in science, math, English language arts and social studies. In addition. Iowa Core has introduced more modern skills into the curriculum, including technological literacy and finances. Even though this is a statewide measure, teachers at every school still create their own lesson plans based on the goals they are given.

 

Back in 2010, the Iowa Core was already in existence but had only just merged with Common Core Standards. Once this happened, they had until the 2014-2015 school year to fully implement the change. This had led to a slow but steady shift in teaching style as well as new technology. For instance, the school district in Marion fully adopted Atlas. The online program gives them the ability to track their curricula and make sure it adheres to the Iowa standards. By full implementation, students should be able to move to different schools in the state and not feel lost.

 

Control

Even with such strict standards, teachers still have free reign over how they teach each subject. So long as the standards are met, teachers are dropping the one-size-fits-all approach that Iowa core used to have. Even still, there are some voices against the practice. They see it as a nationally fueled way to white wash education across the nation. Such opponents speak out against it, believing that education belongs in the hands of the parents that make up each state, not the federal government.

No matter the side taken, it remains a fact that Iowa is reaping the benefits of its alignment. Because teachers can now teach their classes based on the needs of the students, this higher adaptability has led to increased engagement by the students. Learning in Iowa is now student-centered.

 

Iowa Core Goals

Mainly for English language arts and math, Iowa Core has added different goals to each grade level. So long as the students can perform the task accurately, they can move on successfully to the next grade.

1st Grade: Students must be able to retell stories while maintaining the main message along with the most important plot points.

2nd Grade: All addition for single digit numbers must be memorized so students can then figure out sums of 5×5 arrays.

3rd Grade: This year is all about fractions.

4th Grade: Moving back to English, students get a strong grip on the structural differences that separate prose, poems and drama.

5th Grade: After reading and studying a text, the student must come in prepared to engage in deeper discussion regarding the themes of the work.

8th Grade: This year teaches the students spatial awareness through the use of two dimensional shapes and figuring if they align when the second has been rotate or flipped in some way.

11th & 12th Grade: The final step in literary analysis, students must choose two or more themes central to a novel and track each theme’s progress over the course of the book, taking note as to how they interact with and affect the plot.

 

If done well, Iowa Core will be the means by which the state’s students keep up with the rest of the country and the rest of the world in terms of educational prowess.

Reading Time and Common Core in Connecticut

When a student is reading a passage in a classroom in Connecticut, they are expected to read it for understanding. Often they will have to answer questions about the text that they read. This doesn’t just happen in Reading classes, it happens in Science, Social Studies and other subjects. Sometimes there are things imbedded in the text that the student will be questioned about. Sometimes the answers to questions can be pulled directly from the text.

Whether they can point to the text and say that’s my answer or whether they have to dig deeper and use inferencing skills (referred to by one common core commenter in the state as “thinking beyond the words on the page”); students have to aim for accuracy and select the best answer.

In Math, comprehension skills are likewise needed. For example, with the advent of common core a student may get a word problem or other math problem to solve. They may see the answer choices in the form of graphs, tables or charts; and they have to decide which one best answers or represents the answer to the particular question.

In Connecticut, common core represents deeper levels of teaching and learning. Every child that has to get to this level needs every possible tool to help them get there. This includes a teacher who teaches in such a way that a student can explain the way they are thinking. Referred to as meta-cognition, or thinking about what they are thinking about, this concept is nothing new. Since it is receiving greater emphasis with common core, students are expected to articulate what their mind frame is, and almost know their content so well as to be able to teach another student the content in question.

Another tool that proves useful, and is in fact required, is headphones. Headphones can both enable a student to block outside noises so they can hear better; they also can be used with other technology (such as a tablet), to help the student maintain more control over their learning practices. For instance, they can rewind an audio or video if they are exposed to something they don’t understand.

Speaking and listening standards have also changed with common core. A student will have to develop these important skills on a higher level. Headphones can be used to aid in this goal. A student can record themselves speaking, doing a speech, reciting a poem, reading a story, etc. From that experience they can gain skills on how to put sentences and paragraphs together, how to edit their words, choose synonyms, add analogies, include similes and metaphors and more. This tool, in other words, helps students with self-improvement.

When it comes to listening, headphones will help students to fine tune details of the human voice and use of language. No child need listen just for listening sake, it’s all about listening with a goal in mind. For example, a student may need to listen to a passage and be prepared to answer questions that are related to that passage. As with reading a passage, when they listen to one they may have to think past the words for some answers and listen for the obvious ones that don’t require that depth of skill. Some questions will be open-ended, requiring essay or other responses besides choosing from multiple answers. Essay answers require students to demonstrate deeper levels of understanding than does multiple choice.

It is suggested that some of the elements discussed in this article are all about getting students to learn how to access and share their thoughts about a subject, distinctly know how they arrived at a particular conclusion or answer, learn content deeper and incorporate it into their personal body of knowledge.

 

 

 

 

Headphones for School Testing

The industry of educating our country’s youth is constantly changing in order to keep up with new inventions and the advances of modern technology. Subsequently, there’s no question that school testing is extremely different these days than it was just a few decades ago. Children now need to have skills to fit the world around them and school officials are encouraged to take this into consideration when preparing testing materials. Modern technology allows teachers and staff to implement the use of devices like computers and tablet when testing children for proficiency. Many state’s standardized tests are now even incorporating a digital section into the test to ensure each child is well prepared. For the most accurate results when it comes to these type of tests, it’s only understandable that students will require some type of headphone gear for audio portions. If you’re a school administrator looking to purchase new headphones for your school, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

Purchase the Right Type – Knowing exactly what type of headphones you need before ordering is key to supplying classrooms with the appropriate items required to assist with audio testing. Earbud style headphones are the most popular choice for adults, but aren’t always the best choice for children. These small buds usually don’t fit a child’s ears properly and can be difficult for small hands to put in and take out. Earbuds are lightweight and easily breakable, which is why most schools purchase disposable buds or opt for more durable styles that fit over the entire ear. If you will be ordering the traditional over the ear type of headphones, consider whether you will need wireless ones or the standard type with cable attachments. Computer labs will be fine housing attached headphones, while classrooms that use wireless technology like tablets and laptops might benefit more from wireless ones.

Buy in Bulk – The best way to save money on headphones for the students at your school is by purchasing in bulk. It’s recommended you know exactly how many pairs of headphones you will need to adequately supply your entire school or specific department without spending too much. You might want to coordinate with other departments or other schools in the district to consolidate your order to save more money by buying wholesale. Most retailers also offer discounts to schools and educational institutions, so be sure to ask. Also, don’t forget to keep and file the purchase records for tax purposes.

Don’t Forget Accessories – Some sets of headphones require the accompaniment of accessories, so be sure to order all that you need for your new audio devices to work accordingly. When placing your order, don’t forget items such as headphone cushions, cables, speakers and chargers. Also, keep in mind that school headphones can often times get extremely dirty after multiple uses, so it’s recommended you purchase a quality cleaner to keep in the classroom in order to wipe them down between uses.

If the audio equipment at your school need replacing, use these valuable tips to guide you through the process of purchasing the best headphones for today’s students.

Ensuring the Highest Standards in Iowa Schools

For years, states developed their own academic standards with a wide range of expectations that varies completely from the standards of other states. These academic standards were designed to help students get ready for college and the workplace. After successfully graduating from high school, state leaders, colleges and universities, education leaders and the business community nationwide found out that these students were unprepared for the demands of college and the workplace. This instigated the coming together of several education professionals across the country to brain storm on ideas on developing a set of expectations for students in English language art and mathematics. This initiative if properly implemented will be helpful in ensuring students across the country are well prepared for the next step after graduation.

The Iowa Core, formerly the Iowa Core Curriculum, are state academic standards that was passed and signed into law in 2007. These standards were designed for making students proficient in math, science, social studies, English language arts and 21st Century skills which include financial literacy, civic literacy, employability skills, health literacy and technology literacy. The Iowa Core provide teachers, parents, and other stakeholders within the state with a common understanding of what is expected of every students at each grade level.

As Iowa worked towards the full implementation of the Iowa Core, state education chiefs and governors across the country developed a common standard that outline what students nationwide should learn. This initiative is called the Common Core State Standards. These standards are a set of expectations from students at each grade level (K-12), especially in English language arts and mathematics. The Common Core State Standard (CCSS) is designed using the academic standards of the best-state and top performing schools system globally. The CCSS was introduced to ensure that educators and parents share high expectations for students, making them well prepared when they are going into our increasingly competitive global market place. Over 40 states have adopted the Common Core standards, including Iowa.

With authority from the Iowa legislature, the Iowa State Board of Education In 2010, adopted the Common Core State Standards in a way to align with the Iowa Core. Since the goals of the Iowa Core were similar to the Common Core State Standards, these two standards can blend together. The major objective of these standards is to ensure all students in Iowa schools are provided with the highest academic standards to prepare them for college or career training upon graduating from high school. The CCSS is designed to set consistent expectations for students across the country.

EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS OF THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS IN IOWA

  • The CCSS is designed to help students in Iowa schools understand and evaluate complex text over a wide range of disciplines on their own. With these standards, students can be able to construct effective arguments and logically prove those claims with facts.
  • Most students don’t have the skills and ability to discern a speaker’s key points. These standards will equip students with the skills to request clarification so as to assess the veracity of claims, as well as ask relevant questions in classrooms. They will be able to act independently and have a good knowledge on a wide-range of vocabulary while building on the ideas of others.
  • The Common Core standards also incorporate and encourage the use of technological devices in classrooms. These online resources assist the students including teachers to enhance their reading, speaking and writing skills, while using technology and digital media efficiently and strategically to know more about what they were taught offline. Their online search are tailored to get useful information. This makes both the students and teachers familiarize themselves with the latest technological tools and mediums, and also assist them in selecting the tools that match perfectly with their communication goals.
  • These standards establish a base of knowledge in building students to be proficient and skillful in new disciplines through study and research. They will listen attentively in classrooms to gain discipline specific experience and general knowledge.
  • The Common Core standards enhance cross curricular learning. Teachers are able to research on new methods of teaching, but the standards do not dictate the style of teaching. These standards allows for flexibility on the methods of teaching in classrooms, while ensuring students are skillful in other disciplines. The Common Core standards provide teachers with the opportunity to collaborate with their colleagues in other disciplines as well.
  • The level of academic accuracy for students in Iowa will be increased. Students upon graduating from high schools will be ready for college and career. With the skills acquired, students will be able to compete with their peers from all over the world, especially in college and workplace.

The Common Core standards are adopted in majority of the states within the country, including Iowa. The problem of students finding it difficult to cope with the academic standards of other states due to relocation will be drastically reduced. Since all states have shared standards, students who relocated to Iowa can fit perfectly into any school without stres

Pros and Cons of the Common Core in Indiana

We live in a technologically advanced and faced paced world, and yet as a country, there has been little or no changes to the way our kids are thinking or how they study in over 30 years. Nowadays, so many countries across the globe have modernized their approach to education. This is the right time to ensure our kids are well prepared and have the skills needed to succeed and thrive after graduating.  For some time now, states within the country have their unique academic standards, with the aim of getting students prepared for college and career. It was discovered that despite the full implementation of these standards in schools, most graduating students lack the skills and competence to thrive in the college and workplace. This led to the coalition of education experts, business leaders, parents and educators to develop a set of expectations for students known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in subjects such as English language arts and math.

The Common Core State Standards are designed to ensure students truly understand and master what they are being taught, instead of memorizing. These standards applies a practical learning process with a focus on subject areas that will be useful to students in life.

About 44 of the 50 U.S states and the District of Colombia have adopted these set of expectations known as Common Core States Standards, with the states of Indiana, Alaska, Virginia, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas not adopting the initiative at a state level.

COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS IN INDIANA

Though, Indiana is yet to adopt these standards, but they are good especially for kids and schools within the state. The Common Core standards are enhanced set of expectations developed by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) that seek to increase the chances of students becoming successful in schools now and beyond. Teachers and parents in Indiana need to work together to ensure the success of every child is realized. By adopting the CCSS, this set of expectations will be achieved. The CCSS help build understanding and knowledge for students at each grade level (K-12), so they will master concepts preparing them for college, training and career. The standards provide a path for what kids in Indiana schools must learn in math and English language arts.

BENEFITS OF ADOPTING THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS INITIATIVE IN INDIANA

  • The CCSS are internationally benchmarked standards designed to ensure consistent educational standards across the country and to also ensure that students graduating from high schools in all states, including Indiana are well prepared to take on the desired courses at two-or-four year college programs or to be able to compete with their colleagues in the workplace anywhere the world.
  • Students will be able to use relevant facts when making their reasoning clear in speaking and writing. The CCSS offers value experience to students as they will be able to cite specific evidence when interpreting a text orally or in writing.
  • The Common Core standards initiatives encourage educators to do more research work, and also offer them the opportunity to cover fewer subject areas in a detailed and clearer way. Students at every grade level in Indiana will be greatly enriched with the needed skills to help them compete and thrive in college and career.
  • Prior to the introduction of the Common Core State Standards, majority of students within the states are unable to communicate effectively. Some of the skills that every student is expected to have are the speaking and listening skills. These standards have guidelines that teach students on how to speak confidently in discussion classes or when having a conversation with friends. They will also be able to listen carefully to whosoever is addressing them, and boldly ask questions for clarification. These skills are included in the Common Core curriculum for each grade levels (K- 12).
  • The use of technology in Common Core lessons also enhances the learning process for both the teachers and the students. The standards address the use of technology in all subjects. Students will be enlightened on how to carry out researches online directed towards getting useful information about what they were taught in the classroom. Some of the technological devices used to achieve educational goals in Common Core lessons include laptops, iPads, software and much more. The CCSS aim to provide students with the skills they will need to survive in our technologically driven and fast paced world.
  • These shared standards also help increase the level of academic accuracy in Indiana. The performance of each student can also be assessed and compared across states line. Students will familiarize themselves with tools appropriate for their course or grade, and it also focuses on guiding students on the right time to use each of these tools so as to enable them make sound decision.

The CCSS are considered to be more rigorous than the standards in Indiana. The standards ensures students master the skills and knowledge to be considered college and career ready. The Common Core standards are considered a tool that monitors the progress of students all through the year.

The Common Core Effect on Colorado

Many schools across the nation have adopted Common Core State Standards, but not all schools in Colorado have yet to change to the new curriculum. Although some schools continue to maintain their more flexible and more personalized curriculum, nationwide testing is now build to measure the success of Common Core—meaning that education has changed, whether it has been adopted or not.

Electronic Class Room Assignments
Each and every year teachers are required to reevaluate their curriculums, to ensure that they are relevant and competitive. In order to stay competitive in today’s electronically savvy world, students find themselves completing more electronic classroom assignments. The vast majority of these assignments utilize audio, meaning that educational headphones are required.

Electronic Homework
Along with more electronic classroom assignments, comes more electronic homework. Even if some homework is performed by hand, much of the research required for homework is performed online. For this reason, many students also invest in a secondary set of educational headphones for home use.

Electronic Testing
Electronic testing is now being used in most schools for both general classroom testing. Even if your child’s school has not adopted Common Core, they must learn how to navigate electronic testing.

The changes above affect all schools within the state of Colorado, and will help to ensure students are electronically savvy.

 

Common Core Standards in Colorado

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of educational standards that ensure every students, beginning from K-12, are well prepared in mathematics and English language for college, and equipped with the right skills to meet with the high demands of the work place globally. With the adoption and implementation of these standards, graduates will be able to compete with their counterparts from other parts of the world. Common Core State Standards increase accuracy in schools and provide the students with all they need to know after graduating from high school. Currently, 45 out of the states in the US, the District of Colombia, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoan Islands, and the Anchorage, AK School District have adopted the Common Core State Standards. These Common Core initiative is led by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA), in partnership with teachers, higher learning experts, educational organizations, and researchers from several places within the country.

The Common Core standards are grouped into two categories which include the K-12 standards that address the different grade level expectation of every student in the learning process; and the college and career readiness standards that equip student with the basic skills needed for college or career. One of the benefits of these standards include ensuring all students become proficient when it comes to reading English language and mathematics, before the school calendar year runs out.

COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS IN COLORADO

In August 2010, the Colorado State Board of Education adopted the standards. When publishing the Colorado Academic Standards for Writing and Communicating, Mathematics and Reading in December 2010, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) also included the entire Common Core State Standards. Despite the inclusion of the CCSS, the CDE still maintain its Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) which include preschool expectations, 21st century skills, personal financial literacy and knowledgeable and highly skilled graduates.

BENEFITS OF COMMON CORE STANDARDS TO A CHILD IN COLORADO

  • Just like the Colorado Academic Standards, the CCSS is an internationally benchmarked standard that prepare every students to become successful and take on the challenges in our global economy and society. These standards are likened to those found in top performing countries around the world.
  • The CCSS is designed with principles and instructional shifts that is matched with the priorities and intent of Colorado Achievement Plan For Kids (CAP4K) to offer a coherent set of expectation, identify skills students’ need to meet with the challenges of college, while also ensuring that student will be workforce ready.
  • The Common Core standards provide consistent learning target in a mobile society for each grade level. It also help create stability across county and states, especially for students who relocate from one place to the other, due to economic and personal reasons

BENEFITS OF COMMON CORE STARE STANDARD TO SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS IN COLORADO

  • These shared standard brings a solution to the increased demand for higher quality instructional resources. Through collaborative efforts among states, teachers and students in Colorado benefit immensely from the high-quality educational materials designed specifically to be in line with the shared standards, rather than having to utilize instructional materials designed for a bigger market.
  • With the use of the same standard across the country, collaboration will be enhanced. Teachers in Colorado can now collaborate with other states that shares the same standard in designing common resources that will further enhance learning. It will also improve the efficiency of teachers and the quality of learning tools
  • The CCSS is also designed to enhance the ability and improve the skills of teachers and students, as it requires them to use of a wealth of online tools and resources. Students in Colorado will be acquainted with a wide-range of online learning tools, making the learning process easy and fun. Some of the devices used in classrooms to facilitate the learning process include software, iPads, laptops and the internet. These tools are used in Common Core lessons to achieve educational objective of preparing the students for college life and workplace. The Common Core standards offers students the opportunity to have access to the same rigorous learning process and academic content, regardless of their location. With the use of technological advanced learning materials in Colorado classrooms, students’ academic performance will be improved and can also be measured across participating states.

These standards are evidence based and field tested to provide a solid foundation in preparing students in Colorado schools for the future. Designed using the highest international standards, the CCSS will take Colorado Academic Standards to the next level.

Education standards often vary from state to state. Many at times, teachers find it difficult to implement these standards in the classroom, and it can also be overwhelming for parents to support their child’s learning at home. Since the adoption of the new Common Core State Standards in Colorado, teachers and parents can assist a child achieve his or her goals in their classroom and at home. Before the introduction of the Common Core standards, the quality of education varies depending on the location, and this might be difficult for families who are highly mobile, especially military families. States with high-performing standards have students that pass all the basic test and graduating, yet unable to meet the requirements of college and workplace. For this reason, the college and career ready standards of the CCSS are very important factors that help students graduate with the basic skills and get them ready for college and the economy. Every student in Colorado need rigorous academics to become graduates that can compete with their colleagues not only in the next state, but also with those from the world all over. The new assessment tests in Colorado, including the Colorado Measures of Academic Success or CMAS and PARCC assessments, will begin in the Spring of 2015.

The goal of the Common Core State Standards is to ensure an excellent education for students across the country, regardless of where they reside. These standards help students improve their reading level to what they will experience in post-secondary and career. Specialized instructional staff and teachers are saddled with the responsibility to deliver high-quality, individualized instruction, and evidence-based services, using assistive technology devices.

PARCC: What You Need to Know

PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a group currently consisting of 13 states joined together to produce assessments on par with the Common Core State Standards to judge if students are on track to pursuing eventual successful results in both college and their future careers. Like most major exams given by colleges, the PARCC is entirely computer-based. Unlike higher exams, it is built for grades K-12. Once taken, the teacher is immediately alerted to each child’s progress and problem areas, allowing for a more fluid approach to teaching core concepts.

kid-with-headphones-testing

Who

Originally launched during the 2010-11 school year, Arkansas, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island have been working together to develop it into a fully formed test that officially launched this 2014-15 year. In addition, Pennsylvania is noted as a “participating” state since it has not officially decided to use the assessment but has a vested interest in developing a strong product. Altogether, this covers no less than 12 million public schools throughout America. With the combined efforts of so many supervisors and teachers, they are able to continually craft and change an assessment that holds children to the higher standards required by the world at large to achieve success.

Good and Bad

While created with only the best intentions in mind, it would be unfair to assume such a new program has gone off entirely without any form of negative feedback. The largest hurdle is, understandably, trying to change the public’s view that this is more than just wasted resources put toward yet another “standardized test” that will fail to do what is intended. Like most of its kind, it is limited in what information it reveals about the students. Tests, after all, cannot truly determine if the students both understand the subject and know how to apply it to external stimuli. In addition, what of those students who are hampered by their home life? Not every child can or will be intellectually superior, and it’s time to stop treating that fact as a negative. On the other hand, it is the first test of its kind to provide teachers with up-to-date information in regards to where their students need help. Instead of forcing standardized curriculums on every class no matter its make-up, it bolsters a teacher’s ability to adapt lessons to their current situation. Some classes will be much better at math while others will have trouble. Why punish either through a static curriculum?

For the Parents

If you still find yourself worried about the test, the PARCC website offers you not only a comprehensive FAQ section but a sample test in the format it is administered to the students. Each grade level has a set number of examples covering both math and English to give you an in depth sense of what your student will be undergoing on a regular basis. If you still need more information, join their Facebook group either through their website or Facebook’s. This will provide you with recent articles in addition to keeping you informed about test dates.

The Future is Still Unwritten

PARCC is shaping up to be the integration of standardized testing and technology. Because of this, it’s not entirely fair to refer to it as such. Instead of being a once a year frustration for students, teachers and parents alike, this new evolution of testing is set to keep everyone on track throughout the course of the year under the idea that better progress can be made in smaller increments. While the idea certainly holds promise, there remain a vast array of those decrying it as yet another way to stifle students that are already excelling or putting undue pressure on those that flounder. If history has taught us anything, however, is that you can’t force a child to succeed any more than you can force one to fail.