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25 May 2013 @ 07:22 pm
PARRC at your own risk  
The Contents of the Draft Grade- and Subject-Specific Performance Level Descriptors: ELA/Literacy are available here: http://www.parcconline.org/ela-plds. The site touts that what we are seeing is innovative and will enhance assessment of CCSS. Here is the money quote:

"If changes to the rubrics are necessary as a result of the research studies, PARCC will make necessary changes to the draft PLDs to ensure consistency across the documents."
In other words, do not bother to provide feedback. Only research studies will indicate a need to make changes in this draft document. Sigh. I did click on several of the files to examine the rubrics and worksheets for PARRC. Now I am confused (and perhaps that is the goal? To confound?). For Grade 3, here is one of the skills:

"Demonstrates use of information gained from illustrations and words in a text to show understanding of where, when, why and how key events occur." How will this be demonstrated? Will all informational books address this skill? Will all of the where, why, how, when questions be answered directly from the text? How are KEY events determined? And even the word EVENTS gives me pause in informational texts.

For each of the levels from Distinguished (5) to Strong (4) to Moderate (3) and Partial (2), the wording of this skill remains constant. Apparently the skill remains the same and what changes is the degree to which students are able to demonstrate performance. But texts change, too, if I am following the rather convoluted logic (or lack thereof) in thiese document. There are forms for determining text complexity that include Lexiles, Source Raters, and Reading Maturity Metrics. There is a preponderance of other charts and forms. Frankly, I did not see how the different levels (from Distinguished to Partial) would be determined. It is partly due to the piecemeal approach here. One PDF lists forms for determining where to place texts; another document lists the skills for each grade level in a chart; there are other charts and graphs. It seems quite robust, dare I say rigorous work? But that is all on the surface. I was still confounded and uncomprehending (guess I am not career ready, huh?), so I downloaded the narrated power point. And I am still at a loss to understand exactly how assessments will proceed.

This is disturbing and disquieting. So much time and money has been given over to companies who are producing documents such as the ones at the PARRC site. Yet, when I look at the skills, I see skills that I have been aware of and skills I have taught to students in my 30+ years as a teacher. I do not see NEW; I see skills/standards that are familiar and that are part and parcel of most classrooms. It is another case of lipstick on a pig, AGAIN.
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