The technology hurdles of PARCC in schools

PARCC is actually a short form of Partnership for assessment of readiness for college and career. Basically PARCC is a consortium of 8 different states. The district of Colombia and bureau of Indian Education are also part of it and they are working to create and place a standard of k-12 assessment in English language and Mathematics. This consortium was also awarded with the top assessment funds in 2010. The US education department awarded these funds to help in the development of the k-12 assessment. PARCC has included many educators and more than 200 educators and administrators are involved in the development of the k-12 assessment. In 2015, this consortium on the feedback of different schools and educators has reevaluated the assessment program. There are many technology problems that PARCC is facing these days. Actually the most of the assessments of the PARCC are computer based and that is why many problems are being faced by the students giving these computer based assessments.

Technology Setup:

Most of the tests and the assessments of PARCC are based online. So for the computer test all the technology and the system should be in working condition. All the students and the institutes should know the basic use of computer and the specific software used for the tests. While students are studying and preparing for the assessments then the administration are looking for the basic tools and the information to prepare the technology. PAARC has announced that every institute should confirm technical readiness for their state school or institute.

Technology Problems and guidelines by PARCC:

There are many technology related guidelines that are given by the PARCC regarding computer hardware, input devices and security requirements etc. all the schools and the institutes look for and implement these basic technology guidelines to check the eligibility of the existing computers and other devices that are used for test taking. All the guidelines related to the technology are being updated with the release of new testNave. The new version of the testNave is going to be released in the first month of the next year. In 2014, PARCC capacity planning tool was updated. This tool was actually designed to assist school and district leaders to check for any gaps in the assessment system. That includes computer test taking and all other devices that are used for the test taking purposes. That was actually designed to check the flaws and to fill them.

TestNav expected behaviors:

Actually there are many issues reported in the testNav use, so a document was released which was for the district and the school coordinator to check and solve any issue is the testNav. There might be many problems like not displaying the particular items that are designed. This document is very useful because most of the answers by the students can be answered easily after reading this document.

Effects of IOS 9.3 release:

Apple has officially released its new software IOS 9.3 for the users. This release affects the ipads that are being used for the assessments of PARCC. Actually the IOS 9.3 is not compatible with the testNav and that is why it is not working. All the users were strictly advised that they must not update their pads before the launch of new windows.

Java critical patch update:

Oracle has released a java update and this update will affect the windows and the operating system like Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. This new java update was recommended but it was not recommended to the small schools and districts who work on the auto update setup. There might be many problems depending upon the error that is being shown on the screen. There are various problems like username and password in correction, error of unable to connect and the start button might turn grey after the login.

PARCC TRIALS:

As there are various problems and mistakes reported by the various institutions regarding the assessment test so PARCC has set a trial for the schools and the districts to identify the problems and the issues that they are facing while using testNav. For this purpose the sample data was used instead of the full assessment data. Once all the procedure was done and all the teachers and relevant staff had learned how to configure it the trial ends. The trials were of almost 60 minute each. Many of the trials were lasted for a great time like even two- three days depending upon the infra-structure. But this thing had really helped in overcoming many technology issues that were faced by many schools and districts.

PARCC ISSUES:

Here are some of the most basic PARCC technology issues that are being faced by most of the schools and districts.

  1. Java issues: As the testNav is dependent on Java to run on macs etc. there were many issues related to Java.
  2. Resuming issues: the test resuming issue is also one of the most basic issues.
  3. ID/password issues: Id/password issues were also common in case if student enter wrong information.
  4. Text to speech issues: there were many issues regarding text to speech and human reader.
  5. Cache issues: The proctor cache file must be downloaded in order to start the test. The test gets freeze if this is not done. There are many issues regarding this.

Conclusion:

Over all we can conclude that PARCC (Partnership for assessment of readiness for college and career) is actually a consortium of eight different states. There are many assessments and tests that are done on the computers and Macs etc. As the technology is involved in these processes so there are many technology problems that are faced by many schools and districts PARCC. PARCC is trying to overcome these problems and to make the technology system a problem free one.