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Release of PARCC Questions, Student Responses Sheds Light on New Exams

Never-before-available material should prove useful to NJ teachers, curriculum planners

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Even before the New Jersey schools learn their individual results on the new PARCC exams, the public now has a chance to see a good portion of the tests that are have caused such a stir.

For the first time, the PARCC consortium released a segment of the online exams on its website following the first publication of statewide results two weeks ago.

The website is tricky to navigate, and not as clearly labeled as the practice tests that PARCC provided last year.

But what’s available now may be much more useful to teachers and curriculum coordinators – especially when they are given the results – as PARCC has released not just questions, but also the scoring keys for each test and a sampling of actual student responses.

Barely half of New Jersey students taking the maiden version of the new PARCC test in language arts and math were found to meet grade-level “expectations” on any section of the test, while some subject areas showed as few as 25 percent of New Jersey students making the grade.

What all this means will see plenty of discussion in the weeks ahead. The State Board of Education is expected to formalize so-called “cut scores” for the new tests on Wednesday.

The specific results for each school are slated to be provided to the districts -- and released to the public -- in mid-November. Students will receive their individual and confidential results by mail or through their schools.

Meanwhile, what’s been released is far more than what was available before, as previous state tests were kept under wraps so questions could be used again and again, saving considerable costs.

But releasing the questions for each test – or at least a portion of them – was one of the conditions of the state’s commitment to join the PARCC consortium -- now consisting of 11 states and the District of Columbia.

Following are links to some of the test items that were released, along with the corresponding scoring keys:

Fourth-Grade Language Arts Literary Analysis Task

Sampling of Student Responses

Seventh-Grade Language Arts Research Task

Sampling of Student Responses

Geometry End-of-Year Assessment

Sampling of Student Responses

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