PARCC Testing Comes To Los Alamos

LAMS Prinicpal Rex Kilburn discusses the PARCC exam with parents last week as students and staff prepare for the testing window to open. Courtesy photo
 
By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
Prevention Specialist
Los Alamos Public Schools

While the media is currently a buzz with examples of student and parent reaction to state testing, the work continues as the testing window is ready to open for local students.

Earlier this week, Los Alamos Middle School Principal Rex Kilburn held a meeting for parents to explain the multitude of testing and how parents can be helpful and assist their students through what may or may not be a stressful time.

The time can also be stressful for staff, as the preparations continue for the upcoming PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) assessment. Kilburn is proud of his staff as they work together on responsibilities and technical glitches that arise throughout the process. “I would like to compliment my staff for working together with each other and with the administration,” Kilburn said.

The 2015 PARCC exams will replace the previous state mandated SBA exams as a source for gathering information on students with two separate testing windows, rotating 7th and 8th grade schedules throughout the process.

“We discussed this idea at length,” said Kilburn, “and felt it was the only fair way to approach this first PARCC assessment.”

The PARCC website can be visited at www.parcc.pearson.com and offers tutorials, sample items and practice tests.

It is very important for parents to know the parameters that surround the actual testing sessions. Once a session begins, a staff member will not be interrupted to send students to the office.

“Just like the previous annual assessment SBA, students cannot be pulled out of a test session once it has begun,” Kilburn said. “If a parent arrives to pick up their child he/she will have to wait until the session is over.”

While that may be very frustrating for parents and caregivers, the schools are stuck in the middle, required to follow the rules exactly as stated by PARCC.

The PARCC assessment contains nine learning sessions and times for each session vary from 75 to 90 minutes. Students and families will be able to practice even after the student portals for practice have closed in the schools. The schools will wrap up their practice portions to allow a “data dump,” prior to the formal sessions begin in early March.

“During this first experience with PARCC I think it is important for all of us involved (parents, students, teachers, administrators, tech support, community at large) to remain as calm and positive as possible with this first exposure to this new annual assessment,” Kilburn said. “We will most likely be challenged in some way during the testing window, so a collaborative and supportive approach will serve each of us better.”

The PARCC testing schedule has been posted on the LAMS website and the schools welcome any questions about testing throughout the testing windows. The website is available at www.laschools.net/lams.

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