May 05, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Education today announced the results of a survey of 25,000 students who took the PARCC test in April, showing students overwhelmingly prefer taking the computer-based PARCC tests over paper and pencil tests, with 78  percent favoring the online assessment. Eighty-seven percent said it was “easy” to complete online questions, and when asked about the time they had to take the test, more than 92 percent said they finished early or on time.

“This survey of Louisiana students validates our state’s strategy to use an online test,” said State Superintendent John White.  “With nearly 80 percent of the students surveyed indicating they use a computer or tablet nearly every day, it only makes sense that we test them the same way.”

Of those students taking the computer-based test during the first phase, nearly 70 percent said the test was easier or about the same as their current school work. And, when asked if there were questions about things they have not learned this school year nearly 85 percent said there were none or few questions. Students were also asked about the functionality of the computer-based test and how easy or difficult it was to type their answers. Eighty-seven percent said they had no problems entering their answers; nearly the same percentage said they did not have any difficulty moving back and forth between the passages on the test and that information was easily obtained.

More than 25,000 students in 471 schools participated in the first phase of field testing, allowing a “dry run” one year in advance of the state’s move toward standards and tests that will keep Louisiana’s students competitive with their peers across the country. An additional 25,000 students are expected to participate in the second phase field test window which begins today and runs through June 6.

Louisiana educators, working alongside those in 15 other states, are participating in every step of the development of the PARCC tests, including creating test questions and voting on policy decisions. In 2014-2015, students in grades 3-4 will take the PARCC assessments on paper and students in grades 5-8 will take the computer-based version.

In the coming months, the Department will train more than 6,000 educators to help them learn the new assessments and more rigorous standards during three statewide professional development sessions. The Department has also released assessment guides, curriculum guides, and additional resources in the Classroom Support Toolbox.

In the fall, the Department will hold PARCC Dry Run days to allow districts and schools time to again test all devices and internet capacity. This will also serve as a way to give teachers and students another opportunity to practice the new assessments ahead of the full administration in spring 2015. For districts needing more time to fully expand their technical infrastructure, the Department will provide a waiver to administer the paper-based test for the 2014-2015 school year. Starting in 2015-2016, all assessments will be administered online.

For more information on the PARCC assessments, please click here.

To try out sample test questions using the same online format students will use to take the test, as well as view online tutorials demonstrating the tools available to students, please click here.

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