Is PARCC CCRAP? Or the start of something new?

A test that doesn’t count for anything and wastes your time? Or a new and refined way to assess student learning? Either way the state of Illinois has officially scrapped the PARCC test.

The test was a highly debated topic in the school setting and had sparked many problems and difficulties for not only students but the school’s staff as well. PARCC testing was administered to students after Illinois’ contract, in regards to the ACT, expired. This left the state without a standardized test to give students and thus PARCC was pushed forward.

Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t of been a major problem except PARCC scores aren’t accepted by colleges for admitting students into their school. If you were a junior last year this meant you had to pay for your ACT outside of school.

“If the board of education wants to know how we are doing then they should come to the school and see for themselves,” student Pedro Gutierrez said. “Instead of paying for the PARCC test they should pay for our ACT which is more important than PARCC.”

Central High School’s coordinator of the PARCC schedule and organizer of students and staff Iris Jun thought the test had the potential to replace the ACT and had a more optimistic view.

“On paper I think the PARCC test was good,” Jun said, “and I think it was headed in the right direction.”

PARCC won’t be administered anymore because last year the state of Illinois had 44,000 students who didn’t take the English test and 42,000 who didn’t take the math assessment. Even here at Central High School the first two days of testing there were a bunch of bugs with the online PARCC test.

Students who didn’t take the test were pulled out of class and offered to take the PARCC for their benefit.

“Students who missed the PARCC test dates were pulled out of class and given the opportunity to make them up two to three times,” Jun said. “But after they were pulled out of class almost everyone agreed to take it.”

With the PARCC test gone Illinois needed another standardized test to assess students. The state decided on administering a state-paid SAT test which is widely accepted by colleges in the United States.

“I support the change because the state chose a test that is meaningful for students and families” Jun said. “The statewide SAT test will help students and families have access to college entrance exams for free.”

Although adopting the SAT seems to solve the problem, some feel it is only a temporary fix to a larger problem.

“What I’d like to see is a decreased emphasis on preparation for [standardized tests] in schools” Central High School English teacher Scott Filkins said. “The only way to know how to help a student learn more is for a teacher to get to know him or her and what he or she can do on more meaningful, context-based work.”

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