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DC PARCC Testing Mode Memo

Monday, July 28, 2014

Computer vs. Paper Based Assessment for the 2014-2015 PARCC

On July 31, OSSE will release an online form for LEAs to indicate their preferences for computer or paper based administration of the PARCC assessments in spring 2015. If an LEA plans to administer paper based assessments to their students, they must submit a readiness plan for transitioning fully to computer based tests in future years. All LEAs enrolling tested grades must complete this form, with readiness plans if applicable, by August 22, 2014. To assist in planning, this memo explains some key differences between paper and computer based tests in terms of test administration. Note: For LEAs planning to administer paper and computer tests, mode decisions must be made by grade at schools – except for students with testing accommodations that require a certain mode.

Computer Based Testing

  • 20-day testing windows for each component of the assessment (PBA and EOY)
  • Offers a new testing experience for students with built-in accessibility features and accommodations, interactive and multimedia item types.
  • Requires a sufficient number of PARCC compatible devices, including computers and/or tablets with keyboards, and headphones. Visit www.parcconline.org/technology for information on devices, and use the capacity planning tool to see how many devices your schools may need.
  • Requires sufficient internet bandwidth. Use the System Check Tool to validate devices and bandwidth
  • Test coordinators, students and administrators must be familiar with the administration software and platform.
  • Secure materials, including student authorization tickets and seal codes, are shredded at the conclusion of testing, rather than being shipped back.

Paper Based Testing

  • 10-day testing windows for each component of the assessment
  • Will only be available for the first three years of the PARCC exam – all must eventually transition to computer based 
  • Higher volume of secure materials.
  • More work to label, organize materials, ship back to the test vendor

Both Paper and Computer Testing

  • Administering both paper and computer based tests at a school will be permitted, but all students in a grade at a school must take tests in the same mode (except for as indicated by an IEP or 504 plan). All students must take EOY and PBA in the same mode. The exam window start date for paper and computer exams must be the same within each school.
  • Test coordinators must know procedures for both testing modes
  • Within the same school, may be difficult to juggle different test windows and explain different policies