Are we ready for the PARCC?

The scoop from supes about tech implementation barriers…


The PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) includes roughly 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands that are partnering to develop common K-12 language arts and math assessments anchored in college and career-ready standards. 

The assessments, scheduled to roll out in 2014-2015, will monitor student academic growth and progress between 3rd grade and high school graduation.

Some claim that district superintendents are not equipped to prepare their school districts’ technology infrastructures and hardware platforms to usher in the online PARCC assessments.

In 2012, I conducted focus group interviews for my doctoral research so that I could get the scoop from a small sampling of New Jersey supes regarding their beliefs about technology implementation barriers.  I also asked the district superintendents to explain how they actually engage in technology leadership practices. 

My research showed that superintendents believe that they engage in meaningful first-order change and second-order change technology leadership practices, despite what their critics might believe. 

The superintendents said that they conduct technology-related needs assessments, they remain actively engaged technology users, and they work hard to change traditional mindsets and district cultures that do not willingly embrace technology implementation and integration.

The study findings revealed that supes believe that the 2 main barriers to their technology leadership during implementation are:

(a)    Resistance to changes in traditional mindsets by other district stakeholders

(b)   Lack of sufficient funding for technology purchases and technology upgrades

The focus group participants explained that superintendents want to sit at the policy making table during conversations about major technology roll-outs such as the PARCC assessment. 

The supes also said that school districts need more support from their boards of education and staffs so that they have what they need to effectively implement technology initiatives in school districts.  The participants also explained that they need more federal and state funding for educational technology purchases and upgrades.

Is our nation ready for the PARCC assessment’s roll-out?  Time alone will tell. 

The district superintendents who participated in the focus group discussions believe that they are doing their part to get their districts ready for technology initiatives.  What is the rest of the country doing to help them?

And, what are all parties doing to help students from diverse demographic groups across the country have the technology infrastructures and hardware platforms they will need for the PARCC?

Dr. Sharon M. Biggs ~ August 22, 2013


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