• Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from PARCC Parent Night

    December 10, 2014 – Matawan High School


    NOTE: Questions that were similar in nature were combined into a single question and answer. Questions were organized into similar categories.




    1 Will PARCC results be used as placement criteria (Honors, Accelerated, Enrichment?)

    a.     PARCC will not be used to determine placement since it is a new test. In addition, the results of the PARCC will not be made available until October 2015 after placement decisions must be made



    2 Is the same PARCC test given to all levels (Honors, Level 1 and Level 2)?

    a.    Students take the same grade level ELA PARCC regardless of whether they are in Honors, Level 1 or Level 2

    3.  Will the Performance Based Assessment (PBA) of PARCC include the entire curriculum?

    a.    The PBA is designed to cover roughly 75% of the curriculum for the grade. The assessment is task-oriented and based on how students apply skills and knowledge, rather than a cumulative assessment of all knowledge and skills students are expected to know by the end of that grade level.

    4 What percentage of special education students will be exempt from PARCC?

    a.    The NJDOE expects all students, including those with special needs, to take the PARCC on-line assessments. However, students who were previously identified to take the Alternative Proficiency Assessment (APA) will now take an assessment called a Dynamic Learning Map (DLM) rather than the PARCC. These students are identified by the Child Study Team.

    5 What math test do middle school students in Algebra 1 and Geometry take?

    a.    Middle school students in Algebra 1 will take the Algebra 1 PARCC, not the grade 7 or grade 8 math. Middle school students in Geometry will take the Geometry PARCC, not the grade 8 math.

    6 Are there any books for PARCC preparation?

    a.    While there are publishers who claim to have books that prepare students for PARCC, these are unproven. PARCC is administered on line and a workbook is not a reliable substitute. Parents can support their child in preparing for the PARCC by reviewing the sample questions at www.parcconline.org.

          7 Are the 3 units of the English language Arts PBA and 2 units of math PBA taken on the same day?

    a.    Students will take a different unit each day. The district has a 20 day testing cycle to

    administer the assessment to all students.

          8. When will parents get the results of PARCC tests?

    a.    The NJDOE advised districts on September 30, 2014 that results will not be available until  early October, 2015.

          9. How can we get students typing practice?

    a.    In the elementary schools, students are practicing typing each week through the different tasks and activities that they are completing in their computer classes. This ongoing and repeated practice will continue to develop typing skills. Students are also encouraged to utilize the free keyboarding practice website located in the PARCC tab of the MARSD website

       10. What happens if there is a technology glitch while students are taking test?

    a.    Based on the pilot field test administration, the PARCC help desk either fixes the glitch while the testing is ongoing, or has the student close out and the student continues the test the next day. Based on published PARCC documentation, there was no loss of student data during the field testing conducted across grade levels and school districts this past spring.

       11. For some math problems students need to write out the steps to get the answer.  How is this done on the computer?

    a.    Students will have scrap paper during the math test, but if it is required that they show

    work, they will need to type in their calculations.

       12. What are other states doing if not PARCC?

    a.    Several states are using another similar test called Smarter Balance. Other Common

    Core States are not using either.

       13. Will Science be included in PARCC test?

    a.    PARCC testing is only in Language Arts and Mathematics. Students in grades 4 and 8 will still take the NJASK Science assessment scheduled for late May.

       14. Typing speed may be slow. In what way will this affect the student’s test results?

    a.    The Unit Time given for each test is much longer than the actual time the majority of students need. This should allow for various typing speeds. Students are scored based on the content of their response, not the amount of time in which they completed the problem.

       15. How will students answer a geometry problem where they need to use a protractor, etc.?

    a.    All required mathematical tools will be supplied on-line.

       16. How are open-ended response answers graded?

    a.    These will be graded by people, not by computer.

       17. It was mentioned that students will be encouraged to go back to the text” when answering

    questions. Will that mean that children will have open book test as part of PARCC?

    a.    Students will be able to scroll back to the reading passage in order to reference specific textual evidence.

       18. Will testing be done on Chromebooks?

    a.    PARCC testing will be done on Chromebooks, desktops, and lap tops

       19. Are PARCC exams given locally or will they be taken in a different place?

    a.    The exams will be given in our schools.

       20. Will students get on line PARCC practice at school?

    a.    Yes, students in grades 3-11 continue to practice the on-line testing prior to the first PBA. In all grade levels, the district has begun to put more of the local assessments including STAR, i- Ready, Study Island benchmarks, and various classroom assignments online in order to give the students continued practice.

       21. What are the consequences if a student doesn’t do well on PARCC?

    a.    There are no consequences through grade 8. However, on September 30th the NJDOE announced that students must pass at least one PARCC Language Arts and Math assessment to graduate from high school. There are alternate assessments if a student does not receive a passing PARCC score. In addition, the NJDOE has implemented a growth model. Students are evaluated on a rate of growth that is consistent with previous scoring data and in comparison to peers across the state of NJ. However, clear scoring parameters have still not been announced by the NJDOE.

       22. Does the PARCC take into account that this is the first year students are using Common Core


    a.    For grades K-5 and 9-12, the mandate for the implementation of Common Core was September of 2012. Therefore, these grade levels have been working towards the Common Core since 2012. Grades 6-8 also began working towards the Common Core in English language arts in 2012 and math was implemented in 2013.However, there is no consideration of the transition according to what the NJDOE has stated.

       23. Is Study Island good preparation for PARCC?

    a.    There is no proven preparation for PARCC at this time. However, Study Island and other technology based programs are good practice for applying skills and concepts on a higher level and to practice basic concepts and skills regularly. All learning will help students practice and obtain the knowledge and skills required by the Common Core.

       24. Can we opt out of PARCC?

    a.    NJ does not allow for student opt out of standardized assessments. State law and regulations require all students take State assessments; as such, all students must participate in the PARCC assessment as scheduled. Since the PARCC assessment is part of the State required educational program, each school is obligated to count the student’s attendance and score as part of the district reporting. As more information becomes available from the Department of Education, we will post this to our website.

       25. With testing on line, do we still have to concentrate on students’ handwriting?

    a.    While students will always be taught to write, there has been less emphasis on cursive writing over the past decade.  In addition, handwriting is not a standard that is included in the Common Core State Standards. The expanding use of on-line assessments will continue that de-emphasis. However, teachers still try to incorporate practice as much as possible.


    Common Core


    26. Is there Common Core for Science or other subjects?

    a.    At this time, the Common Core standards only pertain to math and English language arts. However, many of the math and English language arts standards are interwoven into other subject areas because of the emphasis on reading, writing, and problem-solving.

    27. How is the Common Core aligned with standardized tests?

    a.    The College Board announced a major change in SAT to take place in 2016 which will align it more to the Common Core.

    b The PARCC assessment is the standardized test that measures the implementation of the Common Core.

          28. How do teachers manage different levels of students in one class?

    a.    Teachers have received increased professional development on differentiated instruction strategies so that they may adjust their teaching methods to the varied ways the students in their class learn. Students are more actively involved in their classwork. Teachers continue to receive instructional support from the District Literacy Coaches.

          29. How can we help students adjust to this new system?

    a.    Your help depends on the grade of your child The NJDOE has a page with links to numerous parent resources. That link is: http://www.state.nj.us/education/sca/resources/parents.htm

          30. Should parents focus on Lexile level in reading?

    a.    Parents can help their children select books based on the appropriate lexile level. A good resource is https://lexile.com/fab/ which will recommend books that fall within a particular grade level. The Common Core does require students to read at higher lexile

    ranges.  A comparison of the old to the new appears in b. below:



    Grade Band                            Old Lexile Range                      ccss Lexile Range

    2 – 3                                          450-725                                       450-790

    4 – 5                                          645-845                                       770-980

    6-8                                           860-1010                                     955-1155

    9-10                                         960-1115                                    1080-1305

             11 – CCR                                    1070-1220                                   1215-1355

          31. Have the teachers in elementary and middle school been trained to teach the new Common


    a.    Teachers have been receiving professional development for the past two years. This continues on a regular basis.  All new curriculum and resources are aligned to the Common Core.