Our Test Prep Playlist: ELA

Last week, we posted a blog post with links to our math test prep resources and the response was overwhelming! ‘Tis the testing season, after all. Based on this positive response, we chose to spend this week’s blog post highlighting our exceptional ELA resources as well. We hope these are helpful!

SmarterBalanced Resources

Practice Tests

Grade Assignment Name Short URL
3 ELA SBAC Practice Test https://edcite.com/1mclaa
7 ELA Practice Test https://edcite.com/1qud3j
8 ELA Practice Test https://edcite.com/1tz7wk

Performance Tasks

Grade Assignment Name Short URL
4 ELA Performance Task https://edcite.com/16ekj0
6 ELA Performance Task https://edcite.com/17g5wq
7 ELA Performance Task https://edcite.com/1s6l0n
8 ELA Performance Task https://edcite.com/1ny88u
11 ELA Performance Task https://edcite.com/1l7xys

Other Practice Assignments for SmarterBalanced

Grade Assignment Name Short URL
3 ELA SBAC Practice Assignment https://edcite.com/1nm4j1
6-8 SBAC Prep https://edcite.com/1aydx1
7 Frederick Douglass https://edcite.com/1gbhlz

PARCC Resources

Elementary School Resources

Grade Assignment Name Short URL
3 Gr. 3 PARCC Practice https://edcite.com/13mpdz
4 PARCC Practice: Foster Care https://edcite.com/19x5ti
4 PARCC Practice: Secret Garden https://edcite.com/1kplzj
5 5th grade PR https://edcite.com/1sgz1w
5 PARCC EOY Practice https://edcite.com/1gzuuo

 

 

Middle + High School

Grade Assignment Name Short URL
6 Module B PARCC Practice https://edcite.com/1n7gz2
7 PARCC Task 1 https://edcite.com/1cvxjt
8 Happiness PARCC Research Task https://edcite.com/1zha7v
8 Research Simulation Task https://edcite.com/1oeost
8 The Giver Final Test https://edcite.com/1i8tdn
11 Crucible ELA Assessment https://edcite.com/1pinn6

A huge thank you to all the teachers who created these outstanding assignments and shared them with the greater community. If you have come across any other helpful ELA resources in the Edcite library, please share in the comments below!

Our Test Prep Playlist: Math

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Spring is in the air! And that doesn’t just mean rain showers and spring allergies. For many, spring means testing season, and there’s nothing quite as stressful as that.

To help our beloved teacher community, we have assembled a playlist of our best test prep resources. This one has exceptional resources for math teachers, and we’ll be post a similar playlist for ELA folks soon. We hope this helps!

SmaterBalanced Resources

*SmarterBalanced is a major testing consortium that will be administering digital exams in 18 member states, including California, Oregon and Washington on the West Coast and Connecticut, Delaware, and Vermont on the East Coast.

Grade Assignment Name Link
3 SBAC Grade 3 Practice Test https://edcite.com/1m42ht
4 SBAC Grade 4 Practice Test https://edcite.com/122l59
5 SBAC Grade 5 Practice Test https://edcite.com/1i15tv
6 SBAC Grade 6 Practice Test https://edcite.com/19ytlk
7 SBAC Grade 7 Practice Test https://edcite.com/1hbsvr
8 SBAC Grade 8 Practice Test https://edcite.com/1fp7nd

 

PARCC Resources

*PARCC is a major testing consortium that will be administering digital Common Core exams in 13 states, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Illinois.

Grade Assignment Name Link
5 PARCC Grade 5 EOY https://edcite.com/1en3fb
6 PARCC Grade 6 EOY https://edcite.com/13fdda
7 PARCC Grade 7 EOY https://edcite.com/19o70m
8 PARCC Grade 8 EOY https://edcite.com/10pxfl

You should also see our Top 10 PARCC Assignments for more outstanding resources!

Tests on Common Core Standards

These “quizzes” (quizzes are probably less stress-inducing to the little tykes!) will help you assess which Common Core standards your students may need to review, and which standards your students aced this year. Edcite’s standards-based reporting features will be particularly helpful with this!shutterstock_222285793 

Grade Assignment Name Link
K Quiz — Kindergarten — All Standards https://edcite.com/1nh8q1
1 Quiz — Grade 1 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1q6m42
2 Quiz — Grade 2 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1wey1a
3 Quiz — Grade 3 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1xmp02
4 Quiz — Grade 4 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1t2q0n
5 Quiz 1 — Grade 5 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1e2wps
5 Quiz 2 — Grade 5 — All Standards https://edcite.com/1nent0

Think there are other assignments on Edcite that could be helpful test prep? Share them in the comments below!

10 Outstanding PARCC Assignments

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With the PARCC assessments around the corner, teachers are scrambling to find resources to help their students practice. And, to make things slightly more complicated, students need to not only practice with the rigorous, Common Core-aligned content, but they also need to practice their technology skills to prepare for these computer-based exams. To help teachers with both of these aspects, Edcite has added 10 PARCC-specific question types that mimic those students will see on the performance based assessment (PBA) and end-of-year exam (EOY). Here are 10 outstandingly awesome assignments teachers in our community have created themselves and shared in our library!

ELA:

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1) Assignment Name: PARCC Question of the Day
Created By: Mary Ellen Weeks
Grade/Subject: 4-5, ELA
More Information: this ELA assignment asks students to practice reading a passage and answer comprehension questions. It’s short and simple, but effective! Daniel has posted many “Question of the Day” assignments on Edcite, which you can find by searching for his name ‘Daniel Davis’.

2) Assignment Name: Happiness PARCC Research Task
Created By: Elizabeth Curington
Grade/Subject: 6-8, ELA
More Information: this assignment makes great use of the Part A/Part B ELA questions students will commonly see on the PARCC ELA exam. For more information on these types of questions, see our blog post!

3) Assignment Name: Argumentative Essay: Uniforms in School
Created By: Lisa Velagic
Grade/Subject: 6-8, ELA
More Information: this assignment asks students to consider the arguments for and against uniforms in school and write their own argumentative essay. Argumentative rather than persuasive essays are heavily emphasized by the Common Core, according to this ELA teacher.

4) Assignment Name: The Night & Number the Stars
Created By: Chip Davis
Grade/Subject: 8, ELA
More Information: this ELA assignment asks students to compare passages from 2 different texts, reinforcing a skill students will be asked to do often in the PARCC exams. For more of Chip’s outstanding assignments, search for ‘Chip Davis’ in our assignments library. Also, read this guest blog post by Chip and his colleague Marita Scarlett used Edcite to prepare their ELA students for PARCC!

5) Assignment Name: The Crucible ELA Assessment
Created By: Jessica Kaiser
Grade/Subject: 11, ELA
More Information: this assignment provides practice on a range of math concepts, from functions, this ELA assignment asks students to read text from the Crucible and complete some text-based analysis.

Math:

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6) Assignment Name: Fractions Performance Task
Created By: Josie Fixler
Grade/Subject: 4, Math
More Information: this assignment asks students to explore the concept of fractions and use many of the new math-specific item types.

7) Assignment Name: Math TestNav Skills
Created By: E Gorski
Grade/Subject: 3-5, Math
More Information: this assignment allows students to practice with the math-specific question types that will appear on the PARCC exam, from keyboard response to pictograph response.

8) Assignment Name: Algebra I Semester Exam
Created By: Janice Pleimann
Grade/Subject: 8-12, Math
More Information: this assignment can be used as a summative assessment, or for some basic algebra practice with your students.

9) Assignment Name: 8th Grade Cumulative Exam
Created By: Josh Schneider
Grade/Subject: 8, Math
More Information: this assignment provides practice on a range of math concepts, from functions, to rational/irrational numbers, to geometry. If you want to focus on one of these skills, you can customize this assignment for your students on Edcite by deleting or adding questions as you see fit.

10) Assignment Name: Int Math 1 PARCC Quiz (No Calculator)
Created By: Becky Dornette
Grade/Subject: 8, Math
More Information: this assignment provides practice on a range of math concepts, from functions, this ELA assignment asks students to read text from the Crucible and complete some text-based analysis.

Bonus Assignment!

11) Assignment Name: PARCC Sample Assignment
Created By: Deb Bogard
Grade/Subject: 4-12, Science/ELA
More Information: this assignment showcases many of the PARCC question types and contains content for many different grades. It’s a great way to show other teachers at your school what they can find or create for themselves on Edcite!

 

 

Perfecting your PARCC Practice

PARCC Banner

When I was younger, I had a coach who always said, “Practice as you’ll perform, because you’ll perform as you Coachpracticed.” She was 100% correct. If I practiced with a specific bad habit, it appeared during game time. If I didn’t work to my full capacity, I was more winded during game time. It was important that I practiced as I wanted to perform–and I always told my students the same. Feeling comfortable with the testing arena is essential to actually demonstrating what you know. Nerves can play a huge part. Tests aren’t end all be alls–but they do matter. And, students want to do well and feel good. So, as their teacher, their educational coach, it’s my responsibility to know as much about what they will see as possible. My students need to know how to master the three types of questions that will appear:

That means we need to practice these types of questions. To be clear, that doesn’t mean we just do the PARCC practice tests over and over again, it means that the content I want to cover and teach in my class is assessed in an aligned format. That’s why I’m going to go through each question type and talk about how it appears on PARCC, how I coach my students to prepare for it, and how it has been recreated on Edcite.

Next page: EBSR Questions

PARCC’d on an Island

How two teachers in Nantucket, Massachusetts tackled PARCC preparation

Guest post by: Marita Scarlett and Chip Davis

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It was a warm, sunny early fall day when we walked into the cafeteria for our staff meeting and PARCC practice test; Chip dreaming of surfing and me requesting access to my accommodations. How would I ever be able to focus on a standardized test in a hot, sunny room full of educators clicking away? All the noise buffering, bedazzled headphones in the world would not be enough to make this work for me. But we persevered, we labored through the PARCC practice tests. And then, we looked at each other, and our colleagues and wondered: how are our 8th graders EVER going to be able to take this test?

Chip, being the classic type A English teacher must have gone home and started researching immediately. I imagine him toiling away at his computer with a sticky note covered copy of Night in his back pocket, and the Common Core State Standards highlighted and marked up on his desk. What tools were out there? What were other teachers doing? How do I prepare my students without sacrificing my curriculum and teaching to the test? How on earth are my students going to be ready to take this test?

My fears were of a different variety. I have spent the last year teaching my students how to mark up the text, break down the words, restate the questions, use a graphic organizer. I have been teaching language based strategies for a paper based world, and now my students will be given a Chromebook, two pieces of blank paper and a pair of headphones and asked to prove what they can do. How do I scaffold them and give them the tools they need to show what they know? How do I keep their self-esteem in tact? How do I raise the bar and hold them accountable while giving them the support and the tools they need when I don’t even know what to offer?

Well, Chip came across Edcite and we got right to it. When Chip brought me the information, I coordinated with our Language Based Learning Disability Consultant for the three of us to get together. Chip had a plan (he always does) and I was ready to come along for the ride. We brainstormed about what the students would need to be successful, what their IEP’s allowed for, and compared these to the PARCC accommodations. Chip planned to create an assessment using multiple texts, based on the Holocaust unit we were wrapping up. Students would have excerpts from the class novel Night by Elie Wiesel and the Literature Circle novel that they were assigned based on interest and lexile levels. The test would mimic Part 1 of Performance Based Assessment in format and rigor. There would be questions with Part A and Part B as well as a constructed response. We decided that I would create a packet of checklists and graphic organizers for the students who required them and modify the grading, not the test itself since it was already differentiated with the multiple novels. We would allow students with the IEP accommodation of extra time the same extension they would get on the PARCC. But what about the students whose reading disability would keep them from accessing the texts?

I reached out to Edcite via email and much to my surprise I got a quick response from Amar asking if I could make time to phone conference with him and his team of educators. We connected with Talia at that time and she was able to guide me to resources through Google Chrome that would digitize the text so students could listen to the excerpts as they would be able to on the PARCC. The Edcite team was so helpful and responsive to us throughout the process.  When we asked if there was going to be a way to toggle between texts, the function appeared a few days later!

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Was it perfect and seamless? No, of course not! Formatting was difficult, especially for the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman; there were glitches with starting and stopping the test, and the scores were not what we had hoped for but all of our students stuck with it. We have plans to administer another Edcite exam, this one aligned with the reading of The Giver by Lois Lowry and the 3rd part of the 8th Grade Performance Based Assessment. Students will be asked to create a new ending to the novel, an extended narrative like the PARCC asks.

If you are looking for the assessments search “Night” and you will find 8 versions of the assessment. Keep an eye out for the upcoming The Giver assessment too! If you are interested in the checklists and graphic organizers I provided to students, feel free to email me at scarlettm@nps.k12.ma.usIMG_2134

Cheers and happy PARCC-type assessing!

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Marita Scarlett (special educator) and Chip Davis (English teacher) co-teach 8th grade ELA at Cyrus Peirce Middle School in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Here are some of their outstanding PARCC-aligned assignments, where students compare the two texts mentioned in the title: (1) Night — Maus I and II (2) Night — Number the Stars (3) Night — Anne Frank.