What does a PARCC Math test look like? How can I help my child prepare for it?

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The PARCC Math assessment focus on assessing students in applying skills, concepts, and understanding. Students will be asked to demonstrate a deeper understanding of multi-step and real world problems involving abstract reasoning, strategic use of math tools, precision, and perseverance.

To excel in Math, lot of practice is required. There are many books and online resources available which help in learning the concept as well as provide practice in the form of online workbooks, Apps and videos.

Even before using these resources, it is necessary to know the structure of the test, i.e, the question types and the time allowed for each session. This helps in preparing for the right questions and to answer within the stipulated time

Question Types:


For math, PARCC differentiates three different types of questions:

Type 1:

  • Tasks assessing concepts, skills, procedures (machine scorable only)
    Balance of conceptual understanding, fluency, and application
  • Can involve any or all mathematical practice standards
  • Machine scorable including innovative, computer-based formats
  • Will appear on the End of Year and Performance Based Assessment components
  • Type 2:

  • Tasks assessing expressing mathematical reasoning
  • Each task calls for written arguments/justifications, critique of reasoning, or precision in mathematical statements
  • Can involve other mathematical practice standards
  • May include a mix of machine-scored and hand-scored responses
  • Included on the Performance Based Assessment component
  • Type 3:

  • Tasks assessing modeling/applications
  • Each task calls for modeling/application in a real-world context or scenario
  • Can involve other mathematical practice standards
  • May include a mix of machine-scored and hand-scored responses
  • Included on the Performance Based Assessment component
  • The Performance Based Assessment (PBA) will be administered once 75% of the school year is complete. It will consist of Type I, Type II, and Type III questions. In the PBA, students will be given a set amount of time to complete their tasks.

    Test Timing for EOY

    Its important to ensure that the even for practice tests the time allotted is maintained. Not only answering correctly, but answering within the stipulated time is also very important to score well in any exam

    Grade 3 to 5 – has 4 units of 60 minutes each

    Grade 6 to 8 – has 3 units of 80 minutes each

    Test preparation Tips:


    Yearlong learning and adequate practice are the keys to succeed in standardized tests. Wide range of books, Apps, videos and online workbooks are available which help the student to prepare for the tests, recognize areas for improvement and work on it. As parents and teachers, it would be good to make use of these resources and support the child’s learning and preparation.

    The online resources available will help you

  • Understanding the standards and associated lingo
  • Know the tools used in exams (Blue arrows, review button, flag, highlighter tool, etc)
  • Knowing and getting to practice tech enhanced question types like drag and drop, highlight text, etc
  • Preparation is the key to success. Today’s tech savvy world has no dearth of resources that support this.

    Computer-based PARCC Practice Program for Schools

    Online PARCC Practice for Students

    The above article is an excerpt from PARCC Guidebook: Success Strategies for Teachers: Professional Development.

    To learn more about the book, click here.