PARCC Statement on Technical Program Review

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - July 12, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Education recently released the Race to the Top Technical Review to chart the progress made by the state consortia that received Race to the Top Assessment (RTTA) grants. The review found PARCC's assessment development is "generally on track," the highest rating possible.

The technical reviewers praised PARCC's assessment development. Specifically, reviewers "found that the items and text passages they saw were generally high quality and aligned to the content standards they were intended to measure" (for PARCC, the Common Core State Standards) and "reported that the consortium is using evidence-centered design with fidelity."

Reviewers applauded PARCC's use of texts by published authors and "highlighted that the consortium has effectively selected texts worth reading."

Reviewers reported seeing good evidence that PARCC will conduct critical research studies on the quality of the assessments and appreciated the "white papers" (short technical issue briefs or literature reviews) authored by members of the PARCC Technical Advisory Committee to inform the consortium's work. For more information about PARCC's research plans, please visit www.parcconline.org/assessment-research.

The reviewers also provided PARCC with recommendations and feedback for strengthening its research strategy and its work to ensure the assessments are accessible for all students:

  • Add research studies that help PARCC evaluate whether items and tasks work as the consortium intends, and whether the assessment design, test questions and scoring materials will allow sufficient differentiation of student performance for all students - including high- and low-performing ones
  • Expanding accessibility and accommodations training for item writers and reviewers
  • Ensuring the research strategy includes additional studies to evaluate the way items work for the full range of English learners and students with disabilities

PARCC has moved forward with the execution of its research strategy and is addressing these recommendations from the Technical Review. Specifically:

  • As planned, PARCC is conducting research studies this summer to further examine the quality of PARCC mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy items, optimal ways of scoring these items and usability of items as they are presented on different computer devices.
  • PARCC will conduct additional research through the Spring 2014 Field Test to further examine the quality of the assessment items and the scoring materials, including a study on the usability and accessibility of the assessments for all of students.
  • As PARCC continues with item development, the consortium is providing additional training for item writers and reviewers on accessibility guidelines and bias and sensitivity guidelines.  Additional emphasis will also be placed on making sure the item writers understand the expectation that all items and passages are equitable and fair for all students.

Background:

The RTTA Technical Review brought together national experts to evaluate the grantees' progress on developing a comprehensive assessment system and to identify areas where technical assistance may be needed to strengthen the consortia's development. The RTTA Technical Review Process is focused on two broad aspects of the work: (a) the consortium's approach to ensuring that assessment results are valid for the intended purposes and (b) the consortium's approach to and process for developing assessment items and tasks that represent the full range of the college- and career-ready content standards.

PARCC provided over 100 documents for the technical review, including:

To learn more about PARCC, visit www.parcconline.org or follow the consortium on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PARCCPlace.