Benjamin Herold of Education Week reports that students who took the PARCC test online got lower scores than those who took the test with paper and pencil.

 

 

“Students who took the 2014-15 PARCC exams via computer tended to score lower than those who took the exams with paper and pencil-a revelation that prompts questions about the validity of the test results and poses potentially big problems for state and district leaders.

 

“Officials from the multistate Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers acknowledged the discrepancies in scores across different formats of its exams in response to questions from Education Week….

 

“It is true that this [pattern exists] on average, but that doesn’t mean it occurred in every state, school, and district on every one of the tests,” Jeffrey Nellhaus, PARCC’s chief of assessment, said in an interview….

 

“In general, the pattern of lower scores for students who took PARCC exams by computer is the most pronounced in English/language arts and middle- and upper-grades math.

 

“Hard numbers from across the consortium are not yet available. But the advantage for paper-and-pencil test-takers appears in some cases to be substantial, based on independent analyses conducted by one prominent PARCC state and a high-profile school district that administered the exams.

 

“In December, the Illinois state board of education found that 43 percent of students there who took the PARCC English/language arts exam on paper scored proficient or above, compared with 36 percent of students who took the exam online. The state board has not sought to determine the cause of those score differences.”