PARCC, the future of testing becomes a part of the past

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The latest implementation and elimination of new state tests brings questions on what is to come. PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) tests were made as the state tests based off the Common Core Curriculum for graduating years 2018 and above. These tests were the replacement for OGT (Ohio Graduation Tests) tests that had been used for quite some time and proved effective. So, why replace them? Common Core is a set of educational standards for teachers to follow in order to better prepare students for the “21st century” world. The almost sudden use of these new tests made a lot of students, parents, and teachers alike to be dissatisfied.

PARCC was made to be the “future” of testing with its use of technology and critical thinking questions but it ended up as a flop. The graduating year of 2018, the eldest group of students to take the test, were the guinea pigs for this new system. At first, the only complaint of the tests was that there would be too much testing by the end of the year. Fairmont gave the freshmen who took the test an incentive of an extra exam exemption because of the immense amount of testing.

As the test dates approached, more and more concerns began to arise due to the tests being 100% online and computer based. Peter Connelly, a sophomore, experienced the schools frustrations with the PARCC while taking the test as a freshman.

“I think the biggest problem with PARCC was initially getting everything set up and going,” he said.

Schools were going to need a colossal amount of bandwidth to support the large amount of students all testing at the same time. No matter what administration did, there were always a select few who couldn’t access the test. Even if some students couldn’t access the test, the testing time would still begin, often times resulting in a loss of upwards to 30 minutes of testing time. To many parents and students, this seemed unfair.

Amber Brewer, Freshman Algebra and Geometry teacher has been one of the many to have strong feelings for these tests.  

I thought the PARCC [tests] was way too much testing for the students last year,” she said.

Now that PARCC is gone, many are wondering what will follow it up. The AIR (American Institute of Research) test is what teachers are now focusing on for the current school year.  

“The new test will only have one testing window,” Brewer said. Compared to last years strenuous 2 weeks of testing, this is quite the improvement.

Kelsey Mann, an English teacher who had to prepare for PARCC last year, talked about the preparation process for the new test this year. 

“The only information they have released are blueprints for the questions and that the new test will be a lighter version of the PARCC.”

Although a lot of regulations are changing, the general set of principles will still be in effect. Previous US history teacher, Corey Miller said, “The common core curriculum that was followed will still be involved in the new test.”

PARCC tests were only made for Math and English so ODE (Ohio Department of Education) tests were used to test students in Social Studies and Science. These tests are also based on Common Core but they will still be used even though they were quite similar to the PARCC.

Most are satisfied with the cancelling of PARCC tests but a lot of time administering and preparing for the tests was lost. It is starting to seem like the PARCC tests did more harm than good. With the PARCC being removed from the school year, a weight has been lifted off the chests of students and teachers alike.

“All of the stress students had regarding what would happen if they didn’t pass the test was very negative on them,” Mann said, “I think this year is going to be a breath of fresh air.”