Standards

Assessment Consortium Releases Testing Time Estimates

By Catherine Gewertz — March 05, 2013 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

New tests being designed for students in nearly half the states in the country will take eight to 10 hours, depending on grade level, and schools will have a testing window of up to 20 days to administer them, according to guidance released today.

The new information comes from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, one of the two big groups of states that are building tests in mathematics and English/language arts for the common standards. It answers one of the big, dangling questions that’s attended the process of making these new tests: Given their promises to measure students’ skills in a deeper, more nuanced way, partly through the use of extended performance tasks, just how long will these tests take?

The other group of states designing tests, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, has already come out with time estimates for its tests, as we reported to you in December. Those testing times—seven to eight and a half hours—are what students in 24 states will face; with PARCC’s estimates out now, we have a better sense of what students in the remaining 22 states and the District of Columbia can anticipate.

PARCC has a flurry of documents out on this today, and you can see them on the group’s website. In addition to information on test times and testing windows, the consortium has created a planning tool that schools and districts can use to gauge their technological capacity. They can enter their own information to determine how long the tests will take them given their current hardware and bandwidth, and can play with it to see how their capacity changes by adding, say, more devices to their lineups.

The heart of PARCC’s information about testing times and windows is contained in its “guidance” document. Keep in mind that the math and ELA sections of PARCC tests consist of two parts: a performance-based assessment, given after about three-quarters of the school year, including more in-depth, extended exercises; and an end-of-year computer-based component, given after 90 percent of the year. Here’s how it boils down:

Performance-Based Assessment:

ELA/Literacy: Three tasks, for which students will have to read one or more texts, answer several short comprehension and vocabulary questions, and write an essay based on evidence from what they just read. The three tasks will be a research simulation, a literary analysis, and a narrative task.

Math: At each grade level, there will be short and extended-response questions focused on conceptual knowledge and skills, as well as the math practices of reasoning and modeling.

End-of-Year Assessment:

ELA/Literacy: Students will read four to five texts, both literary and informational, and respond to short-answer comprehension and vocabulary questions for each.

Math:
Will be comprised primarily of short-answer questions focused on conceptual knowledge, skills, and understandings.

Number of testing sessions: 9 total

ELA/Literacy: Three sessions for the performance-based component, two for the end-of-year.

Math: Two sessions for the performance-based component, two for the end-of-year.

Estimated time on task for students to complete both the performance-based and end-of-year components in math and ELA:

Grade 3: 8 hours
Grade 4-5: 9 hours, 20 minutes
Grades 6-8: 9 hours, 25 minutes
Grades 9-10: 9 hours, 45 minutes
Grades 11-12: 9 hours, 55 minutes

PARCC documents say that while these amounts of time are what is projected to be needed by the typical student, “all participating students will have a set amount of additional time” to take the tests. This will “provide them with ample time to demonstrate their knowledge” and “reduce the need to provide increased time as an accommodation.” The documents sidestep the issue of exactly how much “additional time” will be given to students, under what conditions. But they say that students with disabilities and those learning English will be given even more time, if it’s called for in their individualized education plans. The types of accommodations given to those student populations are under development; draft policies are slated to be released for public feedback next month.

Testing window:
For students: Five to nine days
For schools and districts: Up to 20 days for the performance-based component of the test, and up to 20 days for the end-of-year component. Schools may administer the tests in narrower windows of time if they have the capacity to do so.

PARCC notes that the information it released today could change, in the wake of research and field-testing, but that “major changes are not anticipated.”

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Standards Opinion How the Failure of the Common Core Looked From the Ground
Steve Peha shares insights from his on-site professional-development work about why the common core failed, in a guest letter to Rick Hess.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards Opinion Common Core Is a Meal Kit, Not a Nothingburger
Caroline Damon argues Rick Hess and Tom Loveless sold the common core short, claiming the issue was a matter of high-quality implementation.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards How New Common Core Research Connects to Biden's Plans for Children and Families
A study of national test scores indicate the early phase of the Common Core State Standards did not help disadvantaged students.
5 min read
results 925693186 02
iStock/Getty
Standards Opinion After All That Commotion, Was the Common Core a Big Nothingburger?
The Common Core State Standards may not have had an impact on student outcomes, but they did make school improvement tougher and more ideological.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty