Posted in School-related, Uncategorized

Ah…the PARCC…

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:

Common Core Under Attack

Mom: Why My Kids Won’t Be Taking the Florida Standards Assessment Tests

All the best,

Joanne

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14 thoughts on “Ah…the PARCC…

  1. Okay, I have lots of opinions about the PARCC and standardized tests. Let’s start with why do we even want all children to think the same way? Where will the idea makers come from? The innovators? If we try and force students to all think alike? And until now I didn’t know Bill Gates would profit from this. Shame on him; one of the great inovators of modern times. Not to mention, students learn differently and that is never taken into account.

    Using standardized testing to evaluate teachers is ridiculious. Why should the student be under the stress these schools subject them to over these tests to evaluate a teacher? There are far better ways to do that. (Have opinions on that too.)

    The test won’t count for three years in my state. That puts Noodge 1 right out of the game. And for Noodge 2 she’ll be a sophmore then. I’m not too worried about that either. I actually told her, take the test, who cares what you get? If every kid does poorly on it then maybe someone will pay attention.

    Did you know 41 states opted out of Common Core? 41! What does that tell you? We don’t need Common Core. We need common sense.

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    1. “We need common sense.” A friend of mine always maintained we all have that–it’s UNcommon sense we need. I supposed a bit of each won’t hurt anyone.

      Agreed re: children not having to think alike. We KNOW each child learns his or her way, so a mass standard test doesn’t really make sense to me.

      No, I didn’t know about the 41 states. Makes you wonder what will happen to the standards in the long haul.

      And I wonder how it is our state went PARCC the year we were supposed to have reached proficiency in the previous test used. Hmmm…

      Thanks, Stacey. I easily envisioned your Italian flying as you typed. 🙂

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  2. I have no idea what this is. As far as I know, we do not have anything like this in our education system. Boggles the mind and I agree with STACEYWILK. Why do all kids need to conform to one way of thinking. They don’t all learn the same way either.

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    1. PARCC is the newest–national, I believe–form of standardized testing for public schools. It’s the first year the kids are actually testing with it–all on computer, unless there is a specific reason for pencil/paper options.

      Not sure if it’s about one way of thinking, but it is a singular means of testing, i.e., every child sees the same question re: math, reading, etc. Every kid is different. I can’t imagine the same questions can reach everyone equally.

      Thanks, Tess!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Currently, no, especially at the lower grade levels. There is talk of the powers that be eventually deciding to make passing some/all of the language arts, math and/or science (?) a high school graduation requirement. That could keep a senior from graduating, unless there is some other way that student can show proficiency in those areas.

          Older Son, a senior, already passed the HSPA (High School Proficiency Assessment–it too, measures a student’s knowledge of the Core Curriculum Standards).

          The seniors are exempt. I’m assuming those who have passed it are already considered “proficient”. Other buzz is that the seniors are ‘tainted’ by the HSPA. Not sure how that would mess with a PARCC trek for them, but what do I know?

          Since the HSPA is now gone and PARCC is not to count for the next few years, how is proficiency being measured–at any grade level? Good old-fashioned classroom testing?

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          1. I agree with you completely, Tess. What I’m wondering is: how does one measure without having a baseline? I added links to some articles I read this morning. Interesting, to say the least. And thank you again for your very kind compliments, dear.

            Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you! You are very kind, Ms. Tess. (Meet my alter-ego, lol. It just so happened I was having a happy hair and makeup day, and Hubby caught me in the right light. 😉 )

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