The apparent answer is a resounding YES.
We’ve had numerous readers contact us to share what they have discovered while looking at the publicly available PARCC practice reading tests, and the information is appalling. Using an online tool — Readability-Score.com — we followed-up on readers’ tips and have independently analyzed the reading levels of every single passage on all of the PARCC practice reading tests. Our analysis reveals that the majority of the passages are above the grade level for which the test is designed. With the actual PARCC assessments hidden from public view, this analysis is all that can be performed objectively and we must assume that these tests are an accurate representation of the those that students will be taking that will determine their “ability” and be used to assign grades to Ohio’s teachers, schools, and districts.
Each grade level (3-8) has two practice tests available. The first is the Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) that is to be given in February, and an End Of Year (EOY) test that is given in April. The results you’ll see are reported by a number where the whole number represents the grade and the decimal represents the month. For example, a reading level of 5.4 means that the reading selection is appropriate for the fifth grade, fourth month (i.e., approximately December of Grade 5).
It’s one thing to provide enough “stretch” on the assessments to allow advanced students to demonstrate higher ability, but when more than half of the test questions are based on these higher-level passages, even the “average” student is likely going to obtain a result that is not reflective of his/her true knowledge or ability (specifically see EOY assessments for grades 4-7).
The results for all of the practice test passages are below (Title of Passage, followed by reading-level analyses).
3rd Grade PBA:
3rd Grade EOY:
4th Grade PBA:
4th grade EOY:
5th Grade EOY:
6th Grade PBA:
6th Grade EOY:
7th Grade PBA:
7th Grade EOY:
8th Grade PBA:
8th Grade EOY:
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