MADISON, NJ – A Walk in the PARCC was the theme for a field test presented by Matthew Mingle, director of Curriculum and Instruction, at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.
PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Careers. “This is a brief overview of Common Core standards and assessments,” Mingle said. “We’re approaching the end of the process for full implementation next spring.”
The field test covered four of the five schools, but no results were provided, since this was a practice test. However, a survey was available online. Grades 3 through 9 were tested, with 68 students taking the math test and 134 the English. “Students were asked if PARCC was easier or more difficult than other tests,” he said. They were asked about their understanding of technology and whether enough time was provided to complete the test. He added the faculty is authorized to extend the time if needed. There were no separate testing rooms, since it was all done on computer. “We asked: did they enjoy the test? Was it easy? What was the most challenging part? The easiest? How can teachers help you prepare?”
Mingle said the results were divided, about half and half, in comparison to Common Core. Most students thought their non-school technology prepared them and that time was not an issue. Lessons learned included more practice on the platform before the test and practice on computers. He said some students had problems with certain questions, for instance, not necessarily defining the main theme of a story or writing sample, but finding evidence in the text.
One aim is to increase multi-media literacy, not just watching a movie, but to read and watch, compare and contrast. Chrome books were popular and any technology problems “went away,” he said.
Curriculum revisions will be taking place, especially in math and English for grades 3, 4 and 5. Mingle also mentioned a study island reboot and a newsletter to keep parents and students informed.
In other matters, the board discussed Energy for America. Business Administrator Gary Lane said the renewal of the contact with the Roseland firm would not increase the monthly rate of $5,072. The firm monitors lights, air conditioning and heat. “The sensors and software provide a savings,” he said. But the board agreed to table the agenda item until the next meeting.
Lane also described the new boiler that will replace the Kings Road School boiler. “It’s an upgraded steel and more efficient. It is built and put in place in sections,” he said, which will make for easier installation.
The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, in the high school media room.