On March 13th, the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers published sample PARCC tests, and so I decided to make an *honest* attempt at it tonight. But I also took notes along the way in case you’re interested. Most might not make sense…until you take it yourself (which I am hoping you do, so we an rant about it over beers next week!)
SPOILER ALERT: Whatever I did or didn’t do (sign in so the NSA can track me, perhaps?), I don’t actually know my results. I don’t know why. At this point, I really don’t care. I am pretty sure I blew it though. Yeaaap, so. Now it’s time to cry myself to sleep.
Notes as I take the ELA Practice PARCC for 11th graders.
3/25/2014 ; Start: 6:10pm
23 two-part questions.
Why does this start out with a question about DNA and enzymes. We won’t study this in social studies class. Like ever.
Questions are way too complex, response options don’t make sense.
Took me four times to drag and drop supporting evidence. Said “not all supporting details would be used,” but all of them were.
“Add enzymes” vs add enzymes to a sample being studied” (but this was a summarized option), very confusing.
Question asks for “steps required in DNA ident…” but how did this turn into, “why it’s possible,” and “how easy it’ll be.” for Part B?
Daedalus & Icarus….Only cause I already know the story does this make ANY sense.
Instructions: “Today you will read two poems about Greek Mythology” but the second is actually an Anne Sexton poem.
Central idea: Only bc I know the context of what Icarus’ story has inspired. Incredibly complex! I feel like I’m flying into the sun right now.
13 questions in…I’m pretty tired. Stamina low…now, TWO essays. Holy crap.
Abigail Addams “stood up for those who lacked power like slaves, women, and the colonies.” Um, OK, so now the test is making sweeping judgments about complex systems of race, sex, and diverse communities, & who has power within them?!
Frankly I am disappointed in the historical reading. This is low-grade textbook stuff, rife with assumptions about the Addams’ and early American society that the reader is to take as truth, without citations. No document based analysis.
I skimmed this piece…getting exhausted. Don’t care about how well I do, just going to guess (6:48p, question 15).
I just realized (Question 18) that I am supposed to be reading a new document- a letter from Abigail Addams (primary source), but I had no idea. Looks the same from the instructions.
Question 19…just guessed. Test fatigue set in.
Question 20, I think these are all different letters from Abigail. This is boring as shit, and I always love teaching about the Addams’ !
Question 22, I used the “Evidence” to justify the claim, even though it said to to do the opposite…we’ll see if that little bit of test-trickery pays dividends!
And then I was instructed to write 3 essays to which I simply wrote, “I hate you PARCC, I hate you Common Core, I hate you TestNav.”
I ended the test at 6:59pm. (49 min.)
Tried looking for an answer key and I couldn’t find one.
Well, I am NOT feeling confident about this.
There are definite issues with content and context. No text is without context, because if we want readers to engage with or appreciate any text they need to know what motivated the author to put quill to paper in the first place. These readings are just as bad as any other standardized test. Only MUCH longer. The complexity of the texts and the questions are not age or grade appropriate.
The instructions are confusing. The language in the social science text is bigoted. The TestNav platform is awkward and not intuitive. Details like the background colors; text font don’t allow for me to recognize transitions to new material (e.g. Addam’s letter, scroll bar) compared to if this were a paper and pen test the new material would have the visual-tactile cue of page-turning.
So what do we do with a series of bad tests? I applaud Indiana for backing out of Common Core– even though I don’t approve of the conservative reasons behind it. We all need to do the same, and institute portfolio assessments and locally-designed curriculum moving forward.