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An introduction to Colorado CMAS PARCC testing

FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2016 16:04 PM

Colorado students in grades 3 through 8 and high school take the Colorado Measures of Academic Success Partnership for Academic Readiness for College and Career tests. These Common-Core-aligned exams provide students and teachers with opportunities to show what they've learned and taught, respectively.

What is CMAS PARCC testing?
The PARCC is a part of CMAS testing that aims to prepare students for advancing to higher grades and postsecondary education. The tests consist of English language arts, science, social studies and math exams. Any student who receives special education assistance, is on an individualized education plan or is an English language learner may take an alternative test and receive more time to complete the exams.

How are teachers preparing students? 
The PARCC is not a curriculum. However, for students to succeed on the exams, they must know the information and topics included on the tests. This means teachers base their lesson plans for the year around the PARCC. Your children get ready for the exams by participating in in-class activities, doing their homework and projects, and studying for regular quizzes and tests. If you note that your kids are not doing well in a particular subject, try to help them raise their grades through tutoring or earning extra credit. Not only can this improve their grades, but also they'll gain a better understanding of the topic by doing more work.

What can you do to help?
Parents and caregivers should make sure their students do their homework. You can also have your kids do practice tests to prepare for the PARCC. These online exams allow students to get used to the computer format and familiarize themselves with the more complicated options for answering questions. Past standardized testing consisted entirely of multiple-choice questions, but the PARCC involves deeper thinking and even essay writing. Test anxiety is a major factor in how some students perform on exams, but you can ease your kids' fears by giving them a chance to try examples of potential test questions before they take the real thing.