Testing PARCC (Common Core) for Accessibility

Forty-five states, plus the District of Columbia, have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and along with the standards come new assessments. The Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC) will field test its CCSS-derived assessments with over one million students during the spring of 2014. The majority of these tests will be administered using computers, yet the documentation provided by PARCC leaves questions about the test’s compatibility with assistive technology (like JAWS, ZoomText, and Window Eyes) unanswered. For that reason, a national non-profit wants to hear from teachers and parents in schools that will be administering these new tests.

PARCC Performance-Based Assessments field tests will be administered in March or April 2014, which is about the same time that states normally proctor standardized tests written by state departments of education. Not wanting to unnecessarily stress students (and teachers!), last June the U.S. Department of Education allowed multiple states to apply for a one-year waiver, permitting schools to administer only one assessment per individual student: the new CCSS-aligned one or the current state-produced exam.

In September, districts were notified whether or not they would be included in the field testing for the new assessments. If any of your students will participate in the testing, please call Valerie Yingling, paralegal with the National Federation of the Blind, at (410) 659-9314 x2440. If you are unsure of whether or not your child will be involved, please ask your school’s principal. If your child will not be included in the testing because his or her accommodations will not be available, please, also call Valerie Yingling.

PARCC field tests may be conducted in the following states and district: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.

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Corbb O'Connor
Corbb, a blind entrepreneur, coordinates the outreach and marketing efforts for the Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University as an independent consultant.

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