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PARCC Testing Begins Today for Some High School Students

After several years of buzz around the creation of tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards, the first round of operational testing is now underway.

About 30,000 high school students in six states attending schools with "block" schedules, in which full courses are offered in a single semester, will take the first official round of common-core-aligned tests created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers over the next several weeks. The testing window for such students in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, and Ohio begins today, Dec. 1, and runs through Dec. 19, according to an announcement from the assessment consortium. For Rhode Island students with block schedules, the testing window begins Dec. 8. 

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Students in this first round will be taking the English/language arts and mathematics performance-based tests, focused on knowledge application. They'll receive their "end-of-year" assessments (administered 90 percent of the way through the school year for students who are not on block schedules) between Dec. 15 and Jan. 16.

All of the tests offered this fall will be paper-based. PARCC expects the majority of schools to administer computer-based tests starting this spring. 

PARCC testing will begin at the end of February for all other participating schools. About 5 million students are expected to take those tests. 

Last spring, more than 1 million students participated in PARCC field-testing—an exercise designed to help find flaws in the tests before they are finalized. As my colleague Catherine Gewertz reported, that process hit a few technological glitches but went smoothly overall for both PARCC and the other major testing group, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. 

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