Feb 10, 2015

Prepare for PARCC with Mastery Manager and Google

March 9th is right around the corner, and that means a fun, new assessment for our students (and us) to tackle.  In this post I am going to take a look at four different aspects of the PARCC assessment (General Layout, Passages and Ordering, and the Equation Editor, and Video/Audio Questions) and how we can use Mastery Manager and Google to help our students prepare.

General Layout

When your students arrive at their first question in the PARCC assessment, they will be presented with a screen that looks like this.  Here, a math example is being used, but the general layout features apply to any content question.

[caption id="attachment_2494" align="aligncenter" width="279"]Click to enlarge Click to enlarge[/caption]

There are some key features of each question page in PARCC that are very similar to what you will find in Mastery Manager.

  • The ability to flag a question for review (Green)

  • The ability to remove answer options from view (Red)

  • Moving forward and back with buttons

  • Answer check-boxes of different shapes for different functions (Blue)

If we look at the PARCC version of this question next to a version of this question that I created in Mastery Manger, the similarities can be observed.

[caption id="attachment_2493" align="aligncenter" width="586"]Whole Math Comparison Click to enlarge[/caption]

Additionally, because this is a math question, I pointed out that equations can be faithfully reproduced in Mastery Manager as well.

The more that students experience these general layout features through assessments with Mastery Manager, the easier the transition will be when it comes to the PARCC assessment.

Passages and Ordering Questions

Take a look at the following PARCC question:

Click to enlarge

It follows a typical PARCC question layout where a passage (on the left) is required reading for the question (on the right).  This happens to be a math question, but nearly all of the ELA questions follow this pattern as well.  To top it off, the question, in this instance, requires the students to correctly order the answer options by dragging and dropping them into place.

Now take a look at a comparison between this PARCC question and the same question recreated in Mastery Manager:

[caption id="attachment_2492" align="aligncenter" width="586"]Click to enlarge Click to enlarge[/caption]

The same question with a near identical layout can be created using the passages feature and ordering question.  Simply create a passage with the required information and attach it to your question of choice to have them appear side by side, just like in the PARCC assessment.  The more that students experience these assessment formats with Mastery Manager, the easier the transition will be when it comes to the PARCC assessment.

The Equation Editor

One of the most often talked about tools available to students on the PARCC assessment is the equation editor.  It is simply not the most intuitive tool for students to use.  One option that math teachers have to provide their students with some experience using an equation editor that operates very similarly to the PARCC editor is through Google Docs.


As you can see, many of the same functions are present in the PARCC equation editor as well.

PARCCEquationEditorThough not a one-to-one comparison, experience using the Google equation editor can only help students familiarize themselves with the symbols, button presses, and number entry processes when they encounter them on the PARCC assessment.

Video and Audio Based Questions

The PARCC assessment includes video and audio questions for students to answer.


These can also be recreated in Mastery Manager using the video and audio upload functions that are available in all question types.  If they are added into passages as described above, you can also recreate the side by side layout that PARCC presents.  Note that video can be uploaded or embedded from outside sources.  If you choose to embed a video, keep in mind that students can not access all video sites (i.e. YouTube), and therefore the video embedded from such sites would not be visible to students.

If you would like more information about any of these features in Mastery Manager or Google, please contact your district instructional technology coach!

Sean Mullins | District Instructional Technology Coach

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