Mill Pond PARCC Update 3/5/15
2/24/15, the Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Daniel Mayer, along with Sue
Bardsley, K-6 Literacy Curriculum Coordinator, and Jenny Deane, K-6 Math
Curriculum Coordinator, hosted a Parent PARCC Night at Mill Pond for parents of
students in grades 3-8. Their presentation covered these PARCC-related
do we use standardized tests?
do we need to replace MCAS?
will it be given and what will a testing session look like?
subjects will be tested by PARCC
are we preparing our students?
can families reinforce learning at home?
Link to the Presentation: Slides from the Westborough Parent Presentation (February 2015)
Counselors and Teachers will hold grade-level assemblies during the week of 3/9/15 with all of our students. The assembly with have
a general focus on resilience and positivity, with a minor focus on positive
mindset for PARCC testing.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you are wondering about the
details of the testing experience for Mill Pond students, we drafted the
following Frequently Asked Questions. If you have a question that is not
included below, please contact either Ms. Kenny or Mr. Slomski at 508.836.7780.
Q: Will all MPS students take
the PARCC tests?
Yes, all students in grades 4-6
will take the PARCC tests for ELA and Math.
Q: Will any students take
the MCAS tests?
Students will NOT take the MCAS
test in ELA or Math.
Grade 5 students WILL take the
Science MCAS in May, as there is no Science test in PARCC.
Q: How many Mill Pond PARCC
sessions are there and when will they occur ?
All of the below dates can be found
on the Mill Pond website calendar under “Upcoming Events”
Grade 4 ELA on March 16th, 17th, and 18th
Grade 4 Math on March 19th and 20th.
Grades 5 and 6 ELA on March 24th, 25th, and 26th
Grades 5 and 6 Math on
March 27th and 30th
Grade 4 ELA on May 7th
Grade 4 Math on May 8th and 11th
Grade 5 ELA on May 13th
Grade 5 Math on May 14th and 18th
Grade 6 ELA on May 13th and 14th
Grade 6 Math on May 18th and 19th
Testing Times: (All
teams have the same number of minutes in which to complete the test)
4th grade: Two teams
begin testing at 8:15.
they are finished, the other team will start between 9:55 and
5th grade: All students will all start testing at 8:15
6th grade: All students will start between 9:55
* Exception to the above: All
students testing in small groups with extended time will start their testing at
Q: How long are the test
The test sessions range from 60
minutes to 90 minutes, with no additional time permitted.
IMPORTANT: The time for each session includes an extra 50% time for
students who may need to take longer than others. That means for the 90 minute
sessions, most students will be done in 60 minutes. Last year, in the
PARCC field tests both here and at Gibbons, most students did not require the
full testing time to complete their testing. Because of the time limit on
the tests, we expect students will spend less time testing than on the MCAS
tests. This means students will not miss as much of their regular
* Exception to the above: A
small number of students may have longer than the designated time if their IEP,
504 plan, or ESL status requires this.
Q: What’s the difference between
the March and the May PARCC tests?
The March PARCC sessions are
Performance Based Assessments (PBA) and the May sessions are End of Year
Assessments (EOY). The PBA tests include more open ended questions that
will be scored by human scorers (trained educators) and cover material taught
in the first two trimesters. The EOY tests occur after approximately 90%
of the instructional time is complete and are administered in May.
Q: What will be the content of the
For English Language Arts (ELA),
the three PBA sessions in March focus on “writing effectively when analyzing
text” and will be broken up as follows:
a. Literary Analysis
b. Research Simulation
c. Narrative Writing
For math, the two PBA sessions “focus
on applying skills and concepts, and on understanding multistep problems that
require abstract reasoning, precision, perseverance, and strategic use of
The EOY tests in ELA and math asks
students to “demonstrate their acquired skills and knowledge by answering
selected response questions.” This means that the tests will be less
open-ended and will have questions that can be answered by multiple choice,
drag and drop, or short answers. These sessions will be machine scored.
Q: What devices will students
Students at Mill Pond will use the
same type of device for all of their test sessions. It could be one of
the following which are all compatible with the PARCC testing software:
a. A desktop computer in
a computer lab
b. A Chromebook in a
c. An iPad, with attached
keyboard, in a classroom
Q: What practice will students
have with those devices?
Most Mill Pond students have
already practiced using the device that they’ll be using for the actual
testing. Those who haven’t yet practiced are scheduled to do so before
the testing begins.
Q: How will Mill Pond test so
many students with the devices it currently has?
We have enough devices for the 4th
grade to use during their testing windows. We are borrowing many carts of
Chromebooks from Gibbons and the high school in order to test the 5th and 6th
grades together on the same days. With the state technology grant the
district received, Mill Pond will have enough devices so that we won’t need to
borrow devices from another school next year.
Q: What materials/resources can
students use during the test?
Students will have scrap paper to
use while they take the tests. This will include blank paper, lined
paper, and grid paper. They can have as much as they want of any kind. Sixth
graders will be using calculators for certain portions of the test. Those
calculators will be provided by the school. Many “tools” that a student
might need are available through the computer program, such as the ability to
highlight passages, take online notes while reading, use rulers for measuring,
Q: Will students need headphones
for the testing?
Yes, all students will utilize
headphones for the testing. We have headphones in school for most Mill
Pond students. Some 5th and 6th grade students, however, brought home the
headphones that they used last year and have not yet brought them back to
school. Those students should bring those headphones back to school
or they may bring any other headphones from home that are available.
Earbuds are perfectly fine for the PARCC testing.
Q: What if my child arrives late
on a PARC testing day?
If a student arrives after their
assigned starting time for that day, they will NOT be able to take that test
session with their class. They will make up that test session at another
time, likely after the rest of the scheduled testing sessions are complete.
This would mean that they would miss instructional time since the rest of
the class will resume their regular class schedule.
BE SURE YOUR CHILD ARRIVES ON TIME ON PARCC TESTING DAYS.
BEING DROPPED OFF SHOULD ARRIVE TO SCHOOL NO LATER THAN 8:00.
BEGIN PROMPTLY at 8:15.
Q: What if my child is absent on
a PARCC testing day?
They will make up that test session
on another day, likely after the rest of the scheduled testing sessions are
Q: Will I get a score
report on how my child did on PARCC?
Yes, in the Fall schools and
families will get a report on how students did on PARCC, most likely in
October. This will help you to see how your child is progressing in ELA
and math, and it will help us as a school to see how we can better prepare all
students to master the skills that are taught in our curriculum and assessed
can I help my child prepare for the PARCC?
Teachers have been
preparing your children to be successful on the PARCC test through their daily
instruction with your students. You can help your child by doing the
sure your child has a good night sleep each night (all year!)
sure your child has a healthy breakfast of protein and carbs, and brings healthysnack for break time. (all year!)
PARCC test is just one of the many ways in which we assess student learning.
child should do his/her best, but should not worry about the test. Some questions will seem easy, some will be just right, and some will be
challenging. That’s to be expected! PARCC scores will not affect
students’ report cards or promotion in grades 4-6. They are ready for a
“Walk in the PARCC!”