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PARCC vs. SBAC: Which is Harder?

PARCC vs. SBAC: Which is Harder?

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - April 8th, 2015


Lots of ink has been spilled talking about the PARCC vs. SBAC test, but one question we keep hearing from parents is: Which one is harder?

That’s not as straightforward of a question as it sounds. The PARCC and SBAC, or Smarter Balanced, are two consortia that are both aligned with the Common Core State Standards. That’s why, although the aim of the Common Core standards is to promulgate a uniform set of standards across all 50 states, the reality is much more complicated. Some states are members of the PARCC consortium, others are members of the SBAC consortium, and still others have opted out of the Common Core State Standards altogether. These states instead administer their own, state-specific test (much like all 50 states did before the Common Core standards were conceived).

The PARCC vs. SBAC debate is one that, believe it or not, has ardent participants on both sides. Supporters of the SBAC point to the fact that it adapts to a student’s previous responses, adjusting subsequent questions so they fit the child’s trajectory. The PARCC is more traditional in that the questions remain static regardless of how the child is performing.

Another point to consider in terms of the PARCC vs. SBAC is that the SBAC has interim assessments that are optional. The PARCC has an assessment that can be given midyear, as well as an optional diagnostic section.

If you’re spending lots of time looking into the differences between the PARCC and the SBAC, stop now. The important thing is that you prepare your child for the test given in your state and school district. If you’re in a state that gives the SBAC, you don’t have to worry about the PARCC. And if you’re in a state with its own test, you don’t need to worry about “Common Core” at all! (But you do have to worry about your state test).

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2 Responses

heun choi

does NYC use “PARCC” or “SBC”?

NYC uses PARCC for common core.

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