September 2, 2014

A Final Grade for PARCC: Did PARCC Want our Feedback (Part 2)

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Yesterday, we evaluated PARCC’s feedback process in response to the feedback window for the Model Content Frameworks for ELA/Literacy. We looked at five points that we defined as indicators of whether or not PARCC really wanted feedback on their work. Here is a summary:

1. 1. Advertise widely.
PARCC’s Grade = D (65)

2. Make the link to the survey prominent.
PARCC’s Grade = F (45)

3. Open a wide window for responding.
PARCC Grade = D (65)

4. Make the timeline for feedback logical and memorable.
PARCC Grade = F (55)

5. The survey solicits substantive feedback.
PARCC Grade = B- (81)

PARCC’s Final Grade

While PARCC’s individual grades on the five points indicate that PARCC really isn’t meeting the standard for soliciting wide, honest feedback, we are the teachers. So we get to weight the components of this assessment to come up with a final grade. Since truth is our friend, and we don’t have an agenda, political or otherwise, to derail the Common Core or its children, we looked for places where PARCC appears to have  really tried to do what it said it was trying to do. We are educators, after all.

Question 5 carries a lot of weight for us. Someone who didn’t want honest feedback would not include a question that asks the survey contributors to actually write out what they think the text should say.

Albeit, few responders could have offered much thoughtful rewriting in such a tight response window, but the goodwill is still there, which leads us to give PARCC a C– (that’s a double minus, it could be PARC-C-) based on our purely subjective weighting, rather than the quasi-quantitative scoring of the five elements. The higher grade is not for PARCC’s effort, because we simply don’t think PARCC tried hard enough. The C– (vs. the mathematically deserved D-/62.2) is because of their intent which played out in ways profoundly honest, although hard to see. We scored them higher because we are more interested in this sincerity than in their mistakes, which they can correct by tapping into said sincerity.

In this spirit of goodwill, we request that PARCC re-open the feedback window, publicize it more thoroughly, make a prominent link to the survey and let people really contribute. They may be tempted to argue that they are on a schedule, but they know that advancing an unevaluated document because of deadlines is not intelligent, and they are intelligent people. They won’t want to move a potentially flawed document forward in the process, particularly one that will impact children so significantly,  just because there is a deadline. They are also stewards of $186 million in tax revenues, a stewardship we know they take very seriously. The last thing they want to do is spend $186 million of taxpayer money without doing the meaningful work up front required to make the final tool work. To borrow a metaphor from Stephen Covey, PARCC members certainly don’t want to climb the ladder only to learn it was leaning against the wrong building. Furthermore, the members of PARCC are smart enough to see that giving the public another run at a wider response window may make their work better and easier.

To help PARCC re-open the ELA/Literacy feedback window, write to parcc@achieve.org

You could just say something like:

Dear Members of PARCC,

I did not get to look at the PARCC documents as closely as I would have liked because the response window was so quick. I would appreciate another, longer window for responding. I know of many colleagues who didn’t even get a chance to look at it at all. Please, re-open the survey window so that we can support the important goals you are trying to accomplish.

Thank you,

It is fine with us if you paste this into an e-mail verbatim or if you revise it to suit your needs.

Comments

  1. I’d add this to your list: PARCC also needs to publish the specific feedback it DOES receive to keep things transparent. Wonder if that will happen?

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