Learn about the PARCC and why so many parents are refusing the PARCC for their children.
PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The PARCC Consortium is a group of states that work together – largely, without the input of classroom teachers - to create standardized tests for students across state lines.
The PARCC test is a high-stakes standardized test administered to students enrolled in grades 3 - 11 in New Jersey public schools. Pearson Education, a for-profit corporation based in England, creates and distributes the PARCC tests. Pearson has a 4-year contract with New Jersey for approximately $108 million. New Jersey, originally one of 24 states that signed on to impose PARCC, is one of only seven states moving forward with the test.
Although many districts incorrectly inform parents that participation in PARCC is mandatory, a parent or guardian can chose whether or not their children take the test. New Jersey schools administer the PARCC throughout April. Whether a child is enrolled in 3rd grade or 11th grade, the test takes a student between 8.5 to 9.5 hours to complete.
In most cases, PARCC is taken on a computer. Districts have purchased - and will have a continual need to spend valuable budget dollars in order to upgrade - computers for students to take PARCC tests.
The State of New Jersey claims that PARCC was created to provide a uniform test that would allow educators to compare students, schools, and districts to similar students, schools, and districts. In reality, the information yielded from the 2015 PARCC was not useful or relevant to classroom instruction.
Test data can be helpful. That’s why teachers around the country test students every day as they have been doing for years. Classroom tests help teachers assess individual student progress. That kind of assessment, combined with the teacher’s experience with the student in how he or she thinks and learns, helps the teacher meet the individual student where he or she is and tailor instructional strategies to meet the child’s needs. Because high-stakes standardized tests aren’t connected to learning, the pressure to “teach to the test” disrupts classroom learning. It further disrupts the sacred relationship between teacher and student that is critical to a teacher’s ability to fully observe and meet the needs of individual students. Instead, these tests force teachers to teach everyone the same way, with the same goal in mind: pass the test. PARCC, in effect, de-emphasizes authentic learning and focuses instead on learning to pass a specific, for-profit test.
School should be a place where students master the curriculum and learn the skills they will need to become happy, healthy, productive adults. The PARCC turns schools into high-stakes testing factories and students into units to be measured and compared with other units.