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State launches Prepare for PARCC website

prepareforparccWith the first official round of PARCC testing for Maryland students kicking off in March, the Maryland State Department of Education recently launched a new website Prepare for PARCC to help parents and students get ready.

Maryland’s new Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers aims to help measure students’ mastery of English language arts, literacy and math and goes along with the new Common Core State Standards. The assessments are not “fill-in-the-bubble” tests, according to the Prepare for PARCC website. Students will be asked such things as to write an essay, create a graph or create a model.

“It’s a better way to measure students ability to learn and analyze information,” State Superintendent Lillian Lowery says in a video on the site. “And they reflect more rigorous academic standards adopted by Maryland four years ago.”

The website provides the testing window for the assessments, links to videos and webinars for parents, gives information about the tests as well as tutorials and practice tests. There is also information for parents of students needing accommodations.

PARCC testing window

The testing window for Anne Arundel and Howard county schools is March 2 through 27 for the performance-based assessment and April 20 to May 15 for the end-of-year assessments.

In Prince George’s county, the window for performance-based tests is March 2 to 27 but for high school students on a block schedule the window is April 13-May 8. The end-of-year assessment window is April 13-May 15 and May 4-29 for block schedules.

Calvert County Public Schools will begin with the performance-based assessment on March 16. Schools will notify families of exact testing dates within the window. The end-of-year assessment window opens on April 27.

In Queen Anne’s County the window is March 2 to 27 for performance-based assessments for yearlong classes and April 13 to May 8 for second semester classes. The window for end-of-year assessments is April 20 to May 15 for yearlong classes and May 11 to 29 for second semester classes.

Test components are taken over multiple days during the two testing windows. In total, the estimated time that students will spend taking the PARCC tests include:

  • 8 hours in third grade
  • Just over 9 hours in grades four-five
  • A little less than 9.5 hours in middle school
  • A little more than 9. 5 hours in high school

For details check the Prepare for Park website.

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