PARCC English Language Arts


General Information

Ohio is among 22 states that are working as a consortium, called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and mathematics. The assessments will measure college and career readiness and will be available for states to administer during the 2014-2015 school year.

To check for updates log onto the PARCC Homepage. Take a look at PARCC Item and Task Prototypes under The PARCC Assessment section. The prototypes provided are just some of items and tasks that PARCC will share over time. These will represent the full range of assessment tasks on actual PARCC assessments beginning in 2014-2015.

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Professional Learning Modules

PARCC has developed a series on professional learning modules to help teachers, counselors, school leaders, and testing coordinators understand the assessments. These tools will help educators learn how to read results from the assessments, make inferences about the results, and identify learning gaps in time to make relevant instructional decisions and modifications.


Model Content Framework

The Model Content Framework is to serve as a bridge between the Ohio's Learning Standards in English Language Arts and the PARCC assessments. They are designed with the following in mind:


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Reading Text Complexity

Exposing students to grade-level texts of appropriate complexity lies at the heart of each module. The modules reflect the balance of 50 percent informational text and 50 percent literature that students are expected to read, including reading in English language arts, science, social studies, and the arts.
Reading Complex Text Examples:

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Blueprints & Test Specs

PARCC has released a set of test specification documents, including assessment blueprints and evidence statement tables, to help educators understand the design of the PARCC assessments. You can view and download several sets of specifications for ELA/Literacy  including evidence statement tables.

  • Blueprints are a series of documents that together describe the content and structure of an assessment. These documents define the total number of tasks or items for any given assessment component, the standards measured, the item types, and the point values for each.

  • Evidence statement tables and evidence statements describe the knowledge and skills that an assessment item or a task elicits from students. These are aligned directly to Ohio's Learning Standards for English Language Arts, and highlight their advances, especially in teh coherency of the standards.

  • Performance-Based Assessment (PBA) administered after approximately 75 percent of the school year. The ELA/Literacy performance-based assessment will focus on writing effectively when analyzing text.

  • Mid-Year Assessment (MYA) comprised of performance-based items and tasks with an emphasis on hard-to-measure standards. After study, individual states may consider including the mid-year-assessment as a summative component.

  • End-of-Year Assessment (EOY) administered after approximately 90 percent of the school year. The ELA Literacy end-of-year assessment will focus on reading comprehension.

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Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs)

In ELA/literacy, Performance Level Descriptors are written for the two assessment claims of reading and writing.

For the reading claim, the performance levels at each grade level are differentiated by three factors: (1) text complexity; (2) the range of accuracy in expressing reading comprehension demonstrated in student responses; and (3) the quality of evidence cited from sources read.

This is an innovative departure from how ELA/literacy performance level descriptors have been written in the past, but it reflects the emphasis of the standards on a student’s ability to find text-based evidence for generalizations, conclusions, or inferences drawn and consistent with PARCC’s Cognitive Complexity Framework for ELA/Literacy. The Cognitive Complexity Framework guides item development and recognizes that text complexity and item/task complexity interact to determine the overall complexity of a task.

For the writing claim, performance level descriptors are written for the two sub-claims: (1) written expression, and (2) knowledge of language and conventions. Factors differentiating the performance levels for writing include how consistently and fully students develop ideas, including when drawing evidence from one or more sources, how well they organize their writing, and their command of grammar and language usage.

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Practice Tests

Practice Tests* - PARCC has released free, online practice tests available to all schools and districts. The Practice Tests include technology-enhanced items and are on the same technology platform used for field testing. This allows students and educators in all PARCC states to become more familiar with the types of items that appear on the PARCC assessments. The Practice Tests include a sample of assessment items for each grade level and course and are accompanied by a set of scoring guidlines. Some accessibility features and accommodations are included on the Practice Tests to allow students to interact with the various tools and supports that will appear on the test, such as color contrast, magnification, and notepad features. *To access the Practice Tests, click the Practice Tests tab at the top of the webpage.

Math and English Language Arts Sample Items Released

The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) has posted sample items in math and English language arts on a new, interactive platform. The sample items originally appeared on the PARCC website as PDF documents. Now, students, teachers, and parents will be able to click on and complete the sample items to get a better sense of how the online tests will work.

Below are links to the sample items for three grade bands.

Grade 3-5

Grade 6-8

High School

PARCC also is offering online tutorials that demonstrate how students will navigate the math and English language arts tests. Meanwhile, for those who are interested in technology training or looking for more information on test administration, PARCC has a series of video modules.

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Writing Rubrics

The PARCC Summative Assessments will include three performance-based tasks, each culminating in a prose-constructed response (PCR) item. The narrative writing task requires that students write using a text stimulus, but the response is scored only for written expression and knowledge of language and conventions. The other two prose-constructed responses, associated with the Research Simulation Task and the Literary Analysis Task, are scored for reading, written expression, and knowledge of language and conventions.
PARCC has developed draft generic rubrics for the scoring of the three prose-constructed response items. The language of these rubrics is aligned to Ohio's Learning Standards in English Language Arats, the PARCC writing evidences, and the PARCC content specific performance-level descriptors at the given grade level. To ensure reliable scoring of each prose-constructed response, PARCC will create an item-specific scoring guide that includes sample scored and annotated student writings produced in response to the specific item. Human scorers will be trained to use the item-specific scoring guides developed for each prose-constructed response, with reliability each scorer checked carefully throughout the scoring process.

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Testing Resources/Materials

Testing Manuals and training

Accessibility Features and Accomodations

More Information


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Last Modified: 6/9/2015 2:57:17 PM

Pursuant to ORC 3301.079 (B) (3) and 3313.60, it is the responsibility of Ohio's local boards of education to vet and approve curriculum and educational materials for use in the public schools within their district. The use of any materials posted or linked to on the Ohio Department of Education website, including materials within the Common Core State Standards or Appendices or any state model curricula or other educational resource material, is entirely up to the discretion of each local board of education.