Any recommendations for PARCC practice materials?

October 16th, 2017 | admin | Uncategorized

I get asked the same question all the time; “What do you recommend we purchase that we can use for our PARCC practice?” My answer is always the same (if somewhat frustrating) – “Nothing.” The bottom line is that there are many publishers who offer PARCC Practice Books or PARCC Sample Assessments – some even offer these services online. But the thing all of these resources have in common is that every one of them fail to adequately prepare students for the rigors of PARCC.

There are several reasons for this. To begin with, many published resources are just flat-out inaccurate. The questions posed in the practice book do not exactly match the way the tasks will be phrased on PARCC, or worse, they do not require the student to demonstrate the skills that PARCC will ask them to demonstrate. These PARCC practice books (and NJASK before that) are notoriously inaccurate, which results in students spending valuable time practicing tasks that they will NOT encounter on PARCC, essentially akin to spending valuable time practicing your tennis skills in preparation for a soccer match.

The reality is that there is nothing more effective to ensure that students are exposed to, and gain experience with, accurate and authentic PARCC-like tasks than a well-prepared, well-trained teacher. Only a teacher has the flexibility to make the necessary adjustments to classroom instruction designed to provide students with thoughtful, PARCC-aligned questions, tasks and practice. But too many teachers have not been exposed to training that specifically addresses exactly that: methodologies for making daily adjustments to your instruction designed to build a powerful foundation of PARCC-aligned skills and strategies that students can use to succeed on a complex test.

In the end, nothing can take the place of thoughtful, PARCC-responsive training and professional development designed to ensure that teachers have the expertise to unleash powerful instruction to support their students. Before you click the button to make that purchase of a PARCC prep booklet, remember that nothing can replace the training you need to become more expert than any booklet will ever help you become.

– Rene Schillinger, President, Schillinger Educational Consultants