PARCC is back, with the bulk of New Jersey public schools starting up again this week with the second phase of the state’s new online exam.
This cycle of so-called end of year sections is meant to test children’s knowledge and skills as the end of the school year approaches. The previous section held in March was the “performance-based assessment,” more extended tasks that tested students’ critical thinking and analytical skills.
NJ Spotlight will be posting sample questions for different grades from the test every day this week to give families a chance to test their own knowledge and gauge the difficulty of the exam that has gripped New Jersey’s education system in debate. (Answers will be posted the next day.)
The full practice tests are available online.
The following is a sample question for fifth-grade language arts, starting with a reading passage from “The Youngest Girl in the Fifth” by Angela Brazil:
1. So far from looking withering as Gwen entered the room, the Principal wore an unusually encouraging and benign expression. She was a handsome, large, imposing woman, with a stern cast of features, and was held in great awe by the whole school. As a rule, Seniors and Juniors quailed alike under the glance of her keen dark eyes.
2. “Come here, Gwen,” she said blandly, as her pupil stood hesitating near the door. “I want to have a little talk with you. I’ve been looking over your reports for the last few weeks, and I find that you’ve done well — so well, that I consider the standard of the Upper Fourth is too easy for you. I think you ought to be able to manage the work of the Fifth Form, and I’m going to move you there.”
3. Gwen stared at Miss Roscoe, too surprised to answer. Such a proposal as a change of Form was absolutely the last thing she could have expected. In the middle of a term it was surely an unprecedented happening. For the moment she scarcely knew whether to be alarmed or flattered at the honour thus thrust upon her.
4. “You may find the mathematics a little difficult,” continued Miss Roscoe; “but Miss Woodville shall coach you until you’ve caught up the rest of the class. She can also go over the arrears of Latin translation with you. With that help you shouldn’t be so far behind. I’ve spoken to both Miss Slade and Miss Douglas about it, and they fully agree with me. Do you think yourself you’ll be able to manage the work?”
5. “I don’t know, I’m sure,” stammered Gwen. “I expect I’m behind in maths — but –” ￼ 6. “But you must try your best. I shall trust you to make a great effort. I should be very sorry to have to put you down again. Come with me now, and I’ll take you to your new Form.”
7. Gwen followed the Principal with her head in a buzzing whirl. It seemed like a dream to be suddenly translated from the Lower School to the Upper. She wished she could have had a little time to get accustomed to the idea: she would have liked a day’s preparation at least, so as to think the change over and discuss it at home. Miss Roscoe, however, always did things in a hurry; she never had a moment to waste, and at present she whisked her pupil along the corridor and into the Fifth Form room with almost breathless energy.
Question 1. Part A:
Read the sentence from paragraph 7 of the passage.
“Gwen followed the Principal with her head in a buzzing whirl.”
What is the meaning of the phrase “in a buzzing whirl” as it is used in the sentence?
A. many thoughts happening at once B. a lot of confusing information C. many challenging activities D. a lot of daydreaming
Which detail in paragraph 7 helps the reader understand the meaning of “in a buzzing whirl”?
A. “… seemed like a dream to be suddenly translated…” B. “…had a little time to get accustomed to the idea …” C. “… have liked a day’s preparation …” D. “… change over and discuss it at home.”
￼Question 2. Part A:
Which statement is a theme of the passage that represents a challenge to Gwen?
A. Sudden change can cause unwise decisions. B. Sudden change can cause conflicting emotions. C. Sudden change can cause excitement. D. Sudden change can cause unfair treatment.
Which detail best supports the answer to Part A?
A “… her pupil stood hesitating near the door.” (paragraph 2) B “… was absolutely the last thing she could have expected.” C “… it was surely an unprecedented happening.” (paragraph 3) D “… she scarcely knew whether to be alarmed or flattered … ”
Answers will be posted tomorrow. The full practice tests are available online.
NJ Spotlight, an independent online news service on issues critical to New Jersey, makes its in-depth reporting available to NewsWorks.