The Literacy Cookbook COVERThe PARCC people seem determined to make life difficult for those of us who are trying to prepare our students for these forthcoming assessments.  Recently, they released “new” computerized sample items, which are helpful, BUT there’s a problem.  If you click HERE, at least as of today, you can find the computerized items, but the page does not mention where you can find the answers/explanations to the questions.  Also, the questions aren’t really new; as far as I can tell, only the format in which they are presented is new.

A few days ago, I went through the “Grades 3-5 ELA” sample items and found out the hard way that the answers are not immediately available.  I tried calling and Emailing PARCC but could not get help finding the missing answers.  In desperation, I tweeted about this problem (“@PARCCPlace New sample questions are great, but when can we see THE ANSWERS?”), and someone from PARCC tweeted back as follows: “@SarahTantillo Answers on prev released PDFs Samples designed to be just like test experience (no answers) #askPARCC

This would seem like a helpful response, and it is except that the link after “PDFs” doesn’t work.  So I went to the page for the PARCC PDF Sample Items (for grades 3-11 in ELA; in math, grades 3-HS) and read through them.  The PDFs do not 100% correlate to the computerized test items.  They are separated by grade.  Also, some of the 3rd-grade questions on the PDFs do not appear on the Grades 3-5 computerized test.  I haven’t taken all of the different versions yet, so I can’t speak to other potential disparities.

If you’d like to try out the computerized versions, here are the 6-8 Sample Items and here are the High School Sample Items.

If you have any insights, questions, or thoughts, please chime in!


About theliteracycookbook

In addition to this blog, I am the creator of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK Website ( and ONLY GOOD BOOKS Blog (, and the author of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2012) and LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
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