Preparing schools for a smooth transition to online testing

Hardware and Computer Lab Setup for PCs, Macs, tablets has the latest technical specs, both the minimum required specs and the recommended specs, for administering PARCC tests.

Any computer, including iPads (p. 14) and Chromebooks (p. 10), if allowed by your school or district, can be used as a testing computer, provided it complies with processor power, screen size and resolution, and memory requirements published by PARCC.

  • Operating Systems: Windows 7, 8, 8.1; Chrome OS (Chromebook); Apple iOS 6 or 7; Mac 10.7, 10.8 and 10.9
  • Browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer (enable kiosk mode: screen savers, popups, etc., will cause TestNav to shut down) — must be more recent than specified versions
  • Networking and bandwidth (requirements different with and without proctor caching)
  • Java: Critical Patch Updates required for TestNav to run (disable expiration check or use .BAT file)
  • Running the SystemCheck tool

Highlights of required knowledge (start now)

I recommend creating a plan to include key personnel at your school to execute the steps needed to administer the PARCC tests online this spring:

  • Evaluate your technology readiness (Capacity Planning Tool)
  • Study the training offered by PARCC and MSDE
  • Get your school’s computers ready for testing
  • Get your students ready for testing
  • Use the practice tests and run an Infrastructure Trial
  • Register students, freeze testing environment, upload PNP
  • Administer tests using TestNav 8 (error code troubleshooting)

Adding Users and Assigning Roles

You will need to grant permission to certain users at your school to add, change, and delete student or test information using the web-based PearsonAccess Next system. MSDE made a video on how to edit user roles.

Registering Students

  • Student Registration Import file — one row per test
  • Upload process, creating CSV files with Excel (note: We have recently discovered that leading zeroes, such as in the school 4-digit ID number, must be preceded with an apostrophe (') when using Excel, or the Excel program will strip off the leading zeroes when it writes the data to a CSV file)
  • Red flags and resolving critical student errors with the user interface

Creating a PNP File for students with accommodations

The planned “Accessibility Features & Accommodations” training module (sometime in November) will show you how to assign or administer accessibility features or accommodations for eligible students in the 2014-2015 PARCC Assessments. What you need to know:

  • PARCC delivers test forms to individual students using the Accessible Portable Item Protocol, or APIP: From left, writers feed questions into system that emits XML, encoded for all accommodations; from right, you input what each student needs in terms of accommodations; TestNav is the delivery system that reads PNP and sends HTML for properly selected accommodations for that question to student.
  • For paper too — FAQ, complete manual online of accommodations & accessibility features
  • OK not to have one but those students will get a default test form
  • If needed, export a template (one column per accommodation) then populate, and upload (PNP add-on role)
  • Update PNP data through user interface (LEA, non-school STC, STC)

Proctor Caching (advance to 4:50 in an old PARCC training module)

The planned “Proctor Caching and The Network” training module will show you how to set up, configure, test, and use TestNav’s proctor caching on your network.

Practice Tests

PARCC has published practice tests in MATH and ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS.

The planned “Test Preparation—Student Readiness” training module will take you through the tools available to prepare students and teachers with a simulation experience of PARCC tests. Note: MSDE will also publish a guide to the new-age types of test questions that will show up on the test.

  • Public access practice tests vs. PearsonAccess Next practice tests
  • Some accommodations available on public access tests (no TI-84 for high school)
    Calculator usage varies (if calculator is in IEP)
  • Others may be available and tied to PNP/SRI to be published in PearsonAccess Next — so you can have students practice with some accommodations that they will use during the actual test

Important links

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