PARCC Releases Draft Accommodations Policies for Public Comment

Lauren Williams's picture
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) released two draft accommodations policies for public comment, the reading access accommodation and the calculator use accommodation.

In addition to allowing a full array of testing accommodations on summative tests, PARCC is proposing two accommodations that will expand access to its tests to an even wider range of students with disabilities. 

First, the reading access accommodation will allow the passages, test items and answer choices on the English language arts/literacy assessment to be read to students who have a disability that prevents them from accessing printed text or has not yet learned braille. Also, the calculator policy will allow students who do not have the ability to calculate single digit numbers the use of a calculator for all items on the math assessment except those that measure fluency, as fluency is a skill required by the standards in some early grades. Both accommodations will have specific eligibility criteria and will be limited to students who meet these criteria.

Once feedback is provided on these policies, they will be included in a larger policy that details all accommodations provided to students with disabilities and English language learners.

"These policies were developed based on wide-spread input from states and experts," said Tamara Reavis, Senior Adviser for Assessment Accessibility and Equity. "Common accommodations will increase equitable access, fidelity of implementation, and comparability across PARCC states."

The public review period allows for feedback from a wide group of stakeholders, including K-12 educators, curriculum and assessment experts, and national groups or organizations.

Trinell Bowman, who chairs the PARCC working group on Accessibility, Accommodation and Fairness, said the policies were driven by what is expected of students in the Common Core State Standards and the claims of the PARCC summative assessments.

"These eligibility criteria will require all schools to address a student's need through research based interventions and IEP goals, and these accommodations will give students a greater opportunity to show what they know and able to do on these assessments," said Bowman, Program Manager with the Maryland State Department of Education.

From January 16, 2013 until February 4, 2013, the draft accommodations policies are posted on the PARCC website. Interested parties can provide feedback through a survey posted on the PARCC website, answering questions specific to each policy.

All feedback will be reviewed by Achieve and the working group for Accessibility, Accommodation and Fairness and revisions will be made accordingly. Also, a determination to allow these accommodations and include them in the overall policy or not allow these accommodations will be made based on feedback collected.

This is the first set of accommodation policies PARCC will release for public comment.  An additional policy for the writing access policy will be released for public comment in early February, 2013, and the entire PARCC accommodation policy manual will be made available for public comment in April, 2013.

For more information or to view the policies, visit