Breakthrough Technologies Delivers for U.S. Teachers

Case Study

Open-Source Assessment Delivery System for PARCC

A Future-Thinking Solution for Summative and Formative Success

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), an eight-state consortium, along with the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Education, was awarded a 2010 Race to the Top grant to develop K-12 assessments aligned with Common Core State Standards. Along with their 2015-2016 test year partners at Pearson Education, PARCC needed a future-thinking solution for 2016 and beyond that liberated them from per student test costs, and that solution came from Breakthrough Technologies.
Built in open-source technology for the benefit of U.S. educators, Breakthrough Technologies delivered a robust, custom platform that was both secure and open-source, with no per-student license fees or proprietary software roadblocks. Used for the 2015-16 school year as a formative solution for grades 3 to 12, the platform offered extensive features, such as: a user-friendly teacher portal for rostering, professional development, and student tracking, item types for English Language Arts (ELA), Writing, Reading, and Math, and an intuitive testing interface with multiple accessibility features.
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PARCC has led the movement towards creating Common Core State Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. PARCC is the next generation of standardized testing.

The PARCC Assessment: How It Works

The Architecture behind the Advancements

Like similar assessments built for the National Center and State Collaborative and the Illinois State Board of Education, the PARCC assessment platform rises from the robust foundation offered by Drupal CMS, TAO, and a scalable Amazon Web Services infrastructure – all brought together by the Breakthrough Technologies custom software Agile development process. The open-source platform created for PARCC was first proven to support English Language Arts (ELA), Reading, and Math, and since its inception, the same tools have been used to create an NGSS-aligned science assessment as well. Drupal, TAO, and AWS mesh seamlessly to create a secure, stable, and successful experience for schools.

“Most states voluntarily adopted new, more rigorous academic standards in 2010 and 2011 and teachers have been using them since then in their daily instruction. As a result, states needed high-quality assessments aligned to those standards that would test students of all achievement levels on what they are learning.” – PARCC

Breakthrough Technologies also went above and beyond platform development when it qualified and managed a stable of highly qualified sub-vendors for call center support, training, hosting, disaster recovery, and content services, who published 439 test forms. The platform was also multi-tenant, allowing the Illinois State Board of Education to deliver three grades of summative science assessment as well. During the contract period, nearly half-a-million students were rostered and tests delivered on the assessment platform.

“Many of the old state tests measured only lower-level skills. The new assessments serve as an 'educational GPS system,' measure students' current performance, and point the way to what students need to learn by graduation so they are ready for college and/or a career.” – PARCC