[Athen] FW: PARCC Releases Draft Accommodations Manual For Public Comment

Ron Stewart ron at ahead.org
Fri Apr 19 03:34:54 PDT 2013

Further development in the High Stakes Testing world

Ron Stewart


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PARCC Releases Draft Accommodations Manual For Public Comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 18, 2013 - The Partnership for Assessment of
Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) today released for public comment
a draft of the full accommodations manual for the assessments currently
being developed by the 22-state consortium.

The draft PARCC Accommodations Manual is a comprehensive policy document
that will support local educators in the selection, administration and
evaluation of accommodations for the assessment of students with
disabilities and English learners on the PARCC End-of-Year,
Performance-Based and optional Mid-Year assessment components. The release
of the manual is an important step in meeting PARCC's commitment to
accessibility for all students, especially students with disabilities (SWD)
and English learners (EL).

Trinell Bowman, who chairs the PARCC Accessibility, Accommodations, and
Fairness Operational Working Group, emphasized that these proposed
accommodations represent two years of work by PARCC states to ensure that
all students have equitable access to the PARCC assessments.

"The draft manual represents significant work to drive towards consensus
among PARCC states. The states are to be commended for taking this
important step," said Bowman, Program Manager with the Maryland State
Department of Education. In addition to accommodations for students with
disabilities and English learners, the manual also describes embedded
supports and accessibility features that will be available to all students.

The majority of the proposed accommodations policies are currently in use
across PARCC states. What is different from many current state
accommodations manuals is that the draft PARCC Accommodations Manual
includes not only proposed participation and accommodations policies for SWD
and ELs, but also information about tools that will be provided through
PARCC's computer-based assessment delivery system for all students to
optimize their performance on the assessments. By assessing students on
computers, PARCC states will now have the opportunity to provide all
students with tools they frequently use in the classroom and daily life that
were once provided only as accommodations for SWD and ELs (e.g. highlighters
and enlarged font).

"It is exciting that some features that are considered accommodations by
many states today will now shift to embedded supports or accessibility
features that are available to all students. This shift in policy
represents PARCC's continued commitment to Universal Design principles for
assessment," said Dan Wiener, Administrator of Inclusive Assessment at the
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Chair of
the PARCC Accessibility, Accommodations, and Fairness Technical Working
Group, comprised of national experts.

In addition to state assessment and content experts, PARCC collaborated on
the development of the manual with nationally recognized experts who serve
on the PARCC Accessibility, Accommodations, and Fairness Technical Working
Group and with the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO).

"A strong and intensive effort has been made to ensure that the draft PARCC
Accommodations Manual is based on quality research, input from the states,
feedback from technical experts, and public comment on earlier draft
policies. The National Center on Educational Outcomes is pleased to support
PARCC's work by synthesizing feedback from the public to PARCC," said Martha
Thurlow, Director of NCEO and a member of PARCC Accessibility,
Accommodations, and Fairness Technical Working Group. "The public comment
period is vital to make sure that parents and educators can weigh in to make
sure we get it right for all students."

PARCC also reached out to experts in drafting the EL section of the manual.
WestEd Senior Research Associate Dr. Lynn Shafer Willner, an experienced
technical writer of state EL accommodation guidelines, drafted the initial
EL policy with input from several PARCC state experts.

Charlene Rivera, Research Professor and Executive Director of the George
Washington University Center for Equity and Excellence in Education and a
member of PARCC Accessibility, Accommodations, and Fairness Technical
Working Group said, "This policy manual recommends accessibility features
that address ELs' level of English language proficiency and acknowledges
other background features of ELs. Creation of the manual is a critical
first step for ensuring that ELs have equitable access to the content of
PARCC assessments."

The public review period allows for feedback from a wide group of
stakeholders, including K-12 educators, parents, curriculum and assessment
experts and interest groups. From April 18 through May 13, 2013, the draft
PARCC Accommodations Manual and a feedback survey will be posted on the
PARCC website for the public to provide feedback, along with a set of
Frequently Asked Questions
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Feedback will be reviewed by PARCC state leads, working group members and
other national experts and revisions will be made accordingly.

On January 16, 2013, PARCC released two draft accommodations policies for
public comment - the reading access accommodation and the calculator use
accommodation. The public comment period for those two policies closed on
February 4, 2013. On February 8, 2013, PARCC released the draft
accommodations policy for writing access. The public comment period for
that policy closed on February 20, 2013. PARCC received over 3,500
individual surveys and over 20 pieces of written feedback from advocacy
organizations and stakeholder groups, all of which helped to inform the
development of the full draft manual.

The release of the full draft manual includes these policies that PARCC
previously released for early comment and feedback, as well as additional
proposed policies released now for public comment for the first time. The
public is invited to comment on the entire draft manual.

For more information or to view the policies,visit

> .

Follow the consortium on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PARCCPlace
GpQY0pHP> .

Media Contact: Chad Colby (202) 419-1570, ccolby at achieve.org

Connect with PARCC

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PARCC is an alliance of states working together to develop common
assessments serving nearly 24 million students. PARCC's work is funded
through a four-year, $185 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of
Education. Partners include over 700 higher education institutions and
systems representing hundreds of campuses across the country that will help
develop the high school component of the new assessment - and then put it to
good use as an indicator of student readiness. PARCC is led by its member
states and managed by Achieve, a non-profit group with a 17-year track
record of working with states to improve student achievement by aligning
K-12 education policies with the expectations of employers and the
postsecondary community. PARCC's ultimate goal is to make sure all students
graduate from high school college- and career-ready. For more information,
visit www.parcconline.org

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