Happy Friday and upcoming weekend, everyone!
I promised we’d cover all types of topics here. Not sure I want to tackle this one, but the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is quite the hot one these days. It has been for months and most likely will continue to be so, especially once scores start coming in.
Hype, angst, opting out, refusal, teacher evaluation, funding; Bill Gates and Pearson profiting from it—just some of the buzzwords associated with PARCC. (I won’t touch the lock-and-key PARCC’s predecessor paper-and-pencil tests were kept under; rumors of teachers and/or test administrators at risk to lose their jobs if they happened to glance down at a student’s test booklet while walking around the class—I mean, seriously??? Over a test? What’s it made of, anyway? And yes, I understand it all ties into funding a given public school system. I’m thinking every kid’s education should weigh equally, and not because a test ties into the determination to allocate $$$.)
I don’t know enough about PARCC. I do know it is designed to test knowledge of the Common Core Standards, what kids learn from education supposedly aligned with those standards. (Feel free to enlighten me–please.) Being a parent and a public school civil servant myself, I know it’s there and that I have to deal with it. (I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to do so directly on the professional side.)
“Opting out” is not a choice in my state, but a refusal letter can be sent to the principal at any time, even after testing sessions are under way. Older Son is a senior and doesn’t have to take it. Younger Son is a sophomore and asked if I’d write him a letter of refusal.
I looked into it (some) and spoke to his guidance counselor.
This year, PARCC scores supposedly ‘won’t count’ against students or teachers. (Test results will eventually count as 10% of a teacher’s evaluation—the initial number was 30%.)
At present, passing the PARCC is not a high school graduation requirement. (My state’s stance on that could supposedly change at any time and count retroactively. If that’s true, I can’t see how that is fair play. I also have to wonder: what DOES count in PARCC’s place? Previous standardized tests used are no longer an option.)
Younger Son, not the most scholastic of children, has shown serious potential for proficiency on his PSATs. (He was a handful of points shy of the proficient mark.) These DO count as a graduation requirement, and can be used in lieu of a PARCC score. He will take them again as a junior, with a year more of education under his belt when doing so.
At sixteen, Younger Son is old enough to tune in to all the hullabaloo surrounding the test. He sounds jaded by it, and has an attitude toward it. Given his personality, I don’t see him sitting for the test and giving PARCC his best shot. I’d hate for the state to decide to count his potentially lower scores against a teacher who did his/her best.
So, for this year, I’ll let him forego a PARCC venture. Come next year, I would hope for more definite information on which to base this decision.
Your thoughts? Assuming you have children in the 3rd-11th grade range, are you for them taking the test or not? Why?
Links to two articles that provide a touch more background. These are to be considered FYI–not necessarily MHO–just two of a multitude that caught my eye. The first, however, is from Scholastic, so I’m hoping they’ll be more fair and unbiased. No way to tell for sure:
All the best,