Burlington Public Schools completed an extensive field test of the PARCC online assessments in 2014. Burlington implemented PARCC digital assessments for over 2200 students in grades 3-10. Recently members of the BPS EdTech Team, IT Team, Student Data Office, and district administration presented about our experience with PARCC online assessments at the 2014 MassCUE event. The MassCUE and M.A.S.S. 2014 Annual Technology Conference, co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (MassCUE) and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.) is held annually to connect educators from across New England in an effort to improve the use of technology in our classrooms.
The Burlington presentation highlighted how and why Burlington completed the extensive trial. Superintendent Dr. Eric Conti discussed that Burlington decided to carry out such a large trial because our schools had the capacity to do so and that it would be our opportunity to impact future testing by helping to develop and improve PARCC online assessments. Dr. Conti emphasized the importance of districts communicating with each other about the PARCC assessments and helping to guide how the tests could be implemented in our state.
Burlington’s Director of Technology Integration, Dennis Villano, highlighted how the assessment was deployed and how students and staff were encouraged to participate in the discussion about what worked and what needed improvement with the digital assessments. Dennis discussed how Burlington used iPads, Chromebooks, and desktop computers even though the district is 1:1 with iPads. The use of several devices was a critical aspect of the PARCC trial and provided Burlington with information about how each device performed during test sessions. This information will be shared with other districts.
Bob Cunha, Director of Technology for the Town of Burlington, discussed how Burlington schools have been able to create an outstanding network infrastructure capable of supporting the PARCC online assessments. Bob emphasized how Burlington built the network to support instructional use of technology and 1:1 learning programs.
Burlington’s Director of Student Information, Josh Murphy, discussed important details about session scheduling, student accommodations, and staffing. Josh made it clear that some school departments not previously affected by standardized testing will now likely take on a major role in the online PARCC assessments.
The presentation also highlighted the upcoming Massachusetts PARCC Summit that will feature sessions dedicated to learning more about the PARCC trial in Burlington and Revere Public Schools. The free event will also feature demonstration sessions about important PARCC online topics led by members of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Registration is now open for the Summit.
Burlington’s MassCUE presentation is available below: