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Policy Initiatives

PARCC and ELLs Frequently Asked Questions

Background: This frequently asked questions document was created in response to questions received from test coordinators and other NJ district personnel involved with PARCC testing.

Q: What native language options are available for the PARCC assessment?

A: PARCC assessment is currently translated in one language (Spanish) for one content area (mathematics) in grades 3 through 8 and high school (i.e., Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2).

In addition, as of the 2015-2016 school year, PARCC provides written general test administration directions in the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • Arabic
  • Navajo
  • Chinese Mandarin
  • Vietnamese
  • Portuguese
  • Polish
  • Haitian Creole
  • Urdu
  • Russian

Q: With PARCC, will any newcomers to high school (designated <) be exempt from language arts (LA) portion of the test?  All English language learners (ELLs) tested in grades 9, 10, and 11?

A: Only English learner (PARCC uses EL instead of ELL) elementary and middle school students in grades three through eight, who entered the United States after July 1 of the current school year may be exempt from participating in the ELA/L portion of the PARCC assessments.  Please note this provision does not apply to EL high school students.  Newly arrived EL high school students must participate in the PARCC ELA/L assessments with the appropriate EL test accommodations.  Please refer to New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C. 6A:8-4.1(d)1.ii for reference.

Q: Do you expect to offer any training for PARCC and the ELL population? 

A: The department will offer test coordinator training.  The date, time, and location for this training are under construction.  A broadcast memo will be made available once all facets of test coordinator training have been finalized.

Q: How should teachers indicate that a student should receive the math section of the PARCC in Spanish? The accommodations form did not seem to contain that option, and I know there are lots of questions. Any advice you have will be most helpful.

A: Students, for whom districts have determined their participation on the mathematics portion of the PARCC assessments will be in their native language (i.e., Spanish in New Jersey).  They must be identified as Spanish language mathematics test participants via the Student Registration File, if participating via paper-and-pencil, or by the Personal Needs Profile, if participating online.

Q: In preparing for the upcoming PARCC assessments, the where can educators find information about accommodations?

A: Please visit the following web site to download the latest version of PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual: www.parcconline.org.
  
Q: For the two accommodations that reference a student's native language, will PARCC have a translator embedded within the PARCC platform as a drop-down box, to provide a virtual assistant translator via a computer-generated voice? There was some talk of a built-in translator.

A: For Spanish language online test-takers, the students will take the mathematics assessment in their native language.  For paper-based testing, the students will take a hard-copy version of the mathematics assessment in their native language.

Q: If the LEA is to have the test administrator read in the student's native language, what level, if any of translation ability is required? How are the LEAs to obtain the translators and what credentials are they to have?

A: Districts/schools are responsible for providing a human reader, if needed, to EL students who will participate in the Spanish language version of the mathematics portion of the PARCC assessments.  Test administrators providing this accommodation should be literate and fluent in English, as well as in the student's native language.  Please note in order to serve as a test administrator, the individual must hold a professional certificate and have a valid Student Management Identification.

Q: If the LEA has an ESL program and does not have any translators, how are they to meet the accommodation requirement?  Where are the funds and resources (list of approved translators) for LEAs in meeting this PARCC mandate? In our LEA, we have 8 of the 10 languages listed and more represented by our ELL population. This will be a significant challenge to the LEA.

A: Same as above.  The provision of any and all testing accommodations for EL students is the responsibility of the local education agency. The accommodations are not a mandate.

Q: What is happening at the high school level? I have five students in junior year (which determines their graduation) ... are they exempt from taking the PARCC if they have been here less than one year?

A: Newly arrived EL high school students (i.e., July 1 of the current school year) must participate in the PARCC ELA/L assessments with the appropriate EL test accommodations.

Q: Please clarify the PARCC accommodations and requirements for ELLs... the bilingual website still has NJASK info.

A: The PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual (Third Edition) has been updated with additional information and guidance.  Please visit the following web site to download the latest version of this manual.  www.parcconline.org

Q: What are the differences between LEP and EL, when completing a report needed for PARCC?  

A: Essentially, LEP and ELL refer to the same students.  The name has changed over time and ELL and EL are currently used most often.  However, the New Jersey Administrative Code refers to ELLs.  Only students currently classified as English learners (or EL, LEP) are eligible to receive accommodations designated for English learners on PARCC assessments, including students classified as English learners whose parent/guardian has refused language support program services.

Q: How does one indicate on the Personal Needs Profile (PNP) that a student will take the Spanish math PARCC? 

A: Local education agencies will be required to indicate on the Personal Needs Profile (PNP) data file layout whether any student will participate in the online version of the Spanish language version of the mathematics portion of the PARCC assessment.  Students participating in the paper-and-pencil version of the Spanish language mathematics assessment must be identified via the Student Registration File.

Q: Will students whose parents refused services still receive ELL accommodations?  

A: Yes.  They should receive ELL accommodations until they exit ELL status.

Q: Do English Learners receive 150 percent time for the PARCC assessments?

A: English Learners may have the testing accommodation of "extended time".  Students with extended time have until the end of the school day to complete a single unit of testing during the prescribed window; therefore, time is not limited to 150 percent time.

Q: Are English Learners exempt from taking all of the PARCC assessments?

A: For grades 3 through 8 newly arrived students attending U.S. schools after July 1 of the current school year, are not required to participate in the English Language Arts Literacy (ELA/L) portion of the assessment. However, they must take the mathematics portion of the assessment.  Newly arrived high school students entering U.S. schools are required to participate in both the ELA/L and mathematics section of the PARCC assessments and do not receive an exemption.

Q: Will students who participate in the Spanish version of the Mathematics assessments have their Spanish responses scored?

A: Yes.

Q: Are ELLs whose parents have refused Bilingual/ESL/ELS program eligible for LEP accommodations?

A: Yes.

Q: Will ELLs whose parents have refused Bilingual/ESL/ELS program services be exempted from AMAO 3?

A: No.  All ELLs are counted in the LEP subgroup regardless of what program services they have or have not received.