New online math and English exams based on the Common Core State Standards are planned for implementation next year as part of a nationwide effort to improve student achievement in public schools. Supporters say that the new standards are more rigorous, and the corresponding exams will gauge higher order skills like critical-thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Sample exam questions are now available to the public online.
Maryland is a participant in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two multi-state consortiums developing the online exams. PARCC plans to field test its exams with more than a million students this spring, including some here in Harford County.
Next year, PARCC exams will replace the Maryland State Assessment (MSA) for grades 3 – 8, according to the state education department. For older students, the new exams will replace the High School Assessment (HSA) in English and math only, beginning next year under a transition schedule approved last week by the State Board of Education.
In order to provide educators, students and parents with a preview of exam content and online administration, PARCC also recently published a series of online sample questions. (For schools without the necessary technology, PARCC is planning a paper and pencil option, however the new tests are designed to be taken online.)
PARCC formatted its sample questions in a series of online “tests” available via the link below. There you will also find a link to the tutorial for navigating the online exam environment, similar to what students will experience when they take the actual exams next year.
Get started on the sample questions by clicking “Go directly to the test items in grades 3 – 5”. (Braver souls may also choose the links for grades 6 – 8 and for high school)
Please note that the actual exams will be given to students by grade level. However, PARCC grouped the online sample questions within grade ranges as noted above.
For grades 3 – 5, the samples total 17 questions: 11 in English Language Arts and 6 questions in math. You need not answer one question in order to advance to the next question.
PARCC does not score its online sample questions. However, the correct answers and corresponding rationale, as published in various locations throughout the PARCC Web site, are linked below in an answer sheet for the grade 3 – 5 samples only. The answer sheet was compiled by The Dagger for ease of access. Because the online questions are not numbered, the answers are grouped by topic in the same order in which they appear online.
Click here to begin: https://www.parcconline.org/computer-based-samples
Answer Sheet for Sample Questions Grades 3 – 5
Part 1: English Language Arts
“The Cricket and The Cougar” and “Kira-Kira” – Grade 4 (Note, the first question on the exam and on the answer sheet are different from each other. However, both are vocabulary words taken from the same text)
“Life in the Limbs” – Grade 5
Part 2: Math
Vans for a Field Trip – Grade 3
Patricia’s Reading Time – Grade 3
Art Teacher’s Rectangular Array – Grade 3
Subtraction Fluency – Grade 4
Three Friends Beads – Grade 4
Two Aquarium Tanks – Grade 5