An information trial by the PARCC provides an opportunity for the students, schools, as well as LEAs for providing preparation material for the PARCC testing based on computers. This information trial has been conducted as well as will be carried out in the schools of at least five of the PARCC states that include Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, and Arkansas.
The Importance Of Information Trials
Information trials are important because they stimulate the conditions of the test day and provide an opportunity to confirm that the technology used within schools for this purpose have been configured according to the requirements. This is done so that everyone can be sure that TestNav, which is the student testing platform, has been configured in a correct manner. In its basic sense, the trial is more like a dress rehearsal for this technology. The staff at schools is also prepared accordingly so that they know exactly what needs to be done.
Who Needs To Be Involved
All of the school personnel and the LEAs that are responsible for participation within the computer-based assessment should be involved. This provides them with the opportunity to evaluate the test environment collectively and identify and resolve any issues that may arise during the PARCC test. Therefore, you might want to consider including the following people:
• Test Administrators
• Test Coordinators
• School Technology Staff and LEA
What The Dress Rehearsal Incorporates
The dress rehearsal will incorporate the following:
• Making sure that the TestNav has been configured in the correct manner
• Ensuring that the students have been familiarized with all the computer based formats and tools
• Making sure that the devices run TestNav successfully
• Ensuring that the participating staff is aware of what needs to be done for the PARCC computer based assessment
• Ensuring that the network is capable of bearing the full load
The infrastructure trial is supposed to take an approximate of 60 minutes for administration. Schools have been encouraged that they provide the relevant feedback to the LEAs on the infrastructure trial. LEAs are supposed to contact the State PARCC Test Lead with the required concerns or feedback with regards to the hardware or software related issues.
The Purpose Of Infrastructure Trial
The conduction of an infrastructure trial will give the school the opportunity for practicing in an environment of low stakes so that any possible issues can be identified early on and delays during the PARCC test administration can be avoided. Working with this infrastructure trail can also help in identifying any gaps in communication, training, or technology that can be addressed in the PARCC test preparation.
Infrastructure Trial Goal
The basic goal for this infrastructure trial is the identification of any technological issues that may arise ahead of time. These can be related to network or computer settings that might be required to be changed. There could also be issues related to compatibility of connection. Most of the schools have already used these trials in a successful manner and found out about their PARCC readiness. This prior usage has also allowed them to correct all the issues that they may have anticipated at the time of testing. Some of the schools even had to do a lot more troubleshooting and were required to turn to Pearson call center to acquire additional support.
Issues With The System
Some of the most common issues that many of the schools have experienced have been compiled together in guides and materials so that these schools can be assisted accordingly when they get ready for these tests. The issues that have been identified included connection issues, drag and drop functionality issues, issues with video players, and error codes found on the screen.
Solutions To These Issues
The solution for all of the problems identified above fall into various categories, which include:
• Platform Issues: Pearson will or has adjusted any of the issues that have impacted or will impact the operational testing.
• Local Preparedness/Testing: the drafting of the new documentation has taken place where test administrators have been accommodated to find all of the appropriate resources so that they can find quick answers to all of the common issues.
• Documentation/Manuals: the editing of documentation is taking place so that more step by step instructions can be included for more clarity.
Some extremely great suggestions have been provided for enhancing documentation and training materials so that the users can be helped in a far better manner in order for them to understand the numerous resources that are available for their support and training.
Available Guides In PARCC Infrastructure Trial
PARCC Map To Technology Guides
These guides list the common links and respective tasks for user documentation. These will be posted within this week to the site parcc.pearson.com.
Infrastructure Trial Quick Guide
This quick guide includes all of the most commonly found issues that are encountered including troubleshooting and resolutions guidance. These issues will be posted on the support page of PearsonAccessNext within this week and will be accessible to all of the authorized users only.
Infrastructure Readiness Guide
This guide has been updated based on some of the most commonly asked questions from the customer support. The updated version of this guide has been posted on the website parcc.pearson.com. It will also be updated on the support page PearsonAccessNext within this week.
There will be a webinar held which will cover most of what the infrastructure trial guide consists of. However, the audience for this webinar will consist of both the tech coordinators as well as the test coordinators. It is, therefore, wise that the test coordinators are encouraged to watch this webinar. In case the webinar is missed by these coordinators, some handouts will still be provided to them.
With the relevant guides and the PARCC Infrastructure Trial, in general, the schools will be better equipped at handling these computer-based assessments when the time comes. For further information, feel free to contact us.