The PARCC, which stands for The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a test that all students in grades 3-11 must take to evaluate their readiness for college and the careers that will eventually take shape in their future. It was created by the well known education company Pearson and features two sections focusing on language arts and mathematics. This test replaces the former High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) and is aligned to the Common Core State standards. In the spring of 2010, twenty- three states including Washington D.C. were planning to administer the PARCC. As of January of this year, that number has decreased by about half to only twelve.
There has been some negative reception to students taking this test from parents and educators alike. The website saveourschoolsnj.org, which is a non-partisan, volunteer- led, New Jersey based organization that works to make sure that all NJ children have access to high- quality, public education, lists twelve reasons why the over twenty thousand organization members oppose the test citing reasons such as the test is “poorly designed & confusing” and that this test and other high- stakes tests “have an enormous financial cost.” Jessica Stubs Ph.D. from the St. Tammany Parish School system in Louisiana is considering pulling her first, fifth, eighth, and twelfth grader out of testing because she is suspicious. To her understanding the PARCC test has been designed and field tested in her state. She wonders how a test that has been field tested in her own state could “possibly be comparable to the testing and achievement of children around the country in states who truly are members of the PARCC consortium?”; The consortium being the group of states that are still in for administering this test.
Mr. Concillio, a math teacher here at Southern, said that the test is a pain because there is too much class time taken away and with so much learning crammed into the year without the addition of the PARCC, it becomes crazy trying to fit everything in. Mrs. Baker, an English teacher here at Southern, said that she recognizes the need for digital assessments, but believes that the state of New Jersey is pushing them too fast, too soon. She thinks that a new grade should be added each year, starting with third grade because they are the younger generation, which have been learning from the beginning how to incorporate technology into their learning, whereas the 11th graders have been taught the older methods because they were at that level longer ago. Despite the negative opposition that some people and educators have towards this test, the PARCC will be administered in those states that are still in the consortium and because of this, much more opposition is expected.