Becton administration educates staff, students on PARCC changes

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Aneta Ostasz and Brandon Zambrano

As many may already know, last year was the first time that the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) was administered here in the state of New Jersey. This new school year, however, brings with it some changes to the state test, especially when it comes down to the administration aspect.

First, the assessment will be given during one window instead of two. That means that NJ school districts will be given a start date of April 11 and an end date of May 20 to complete the administration of the test versus last year when there were two administration windows to complete a Performance Based Task and an End of Year Assessment.

Next, testing time has been cut by approximately 90 minutes for each grade and furthermore, the number of units has been reduced, with each unit lasting approximately 90 to 110 minutes in length.

Moving forward, the assessment will be more focused on reading comprehension while the questions themselves will be based on material learned throughout the year. One big focus of the English Language Arts/Literacy PARCC this year will be on pushing for students to utilize a higher level of vocabulary.

While all of these changes may seem sudden for the average student, it is a learning process for both students and teachers in the state.

Overall, the Becton administration is making sure that both students and teachers are prepared when it comes being informed of testing changes. For example, Department Chairperson Belinda Cannarozzi recently coordinated a professional development day, where she brought in a speaker from Standards Solution, a K-12 education company that offers instructional and curricular resources, to address test-taking techniques and provide further information on the assessment.

“Our staff will participate in any workshop needed to improve students’ scores and grades,” stated Math and Science Department Chairperson Mr. Ray Sawyer.

In turn, teachers are relaying all information learned to their students and are taking their classes to the computer labs to review the PARCC TestNav 8 tutorials and practice tests.

All Becton teachers are encouraged to incorporate PARCC-like prompts and questions into their daily lesson plans.