A Reflection on PARCC Testing

Moriam Yarrow, Guest Columnist

Testing is how schools, teachers, and principals are evaluated. However, there has been a disagreement among parents and students about the standardized PARCC test. Some argue that the educational institutions rushed rather quickly and didn’t consider the difficulties of putting the test out there. For instance, they argue that PARCC testing takes too much time from the regular instruction, requires computer literacy from small children, and does not address the special needs children who would be required to take the test.

Hillcrest High School did a test run of the PARCC test last year, where the teachers and students took the test. Word got out to the school about the level of difficulty, and how there was controversy in the answers the teachers got. Many teachers such as Mr. Valiska and Ms. Lee discussed the level of difficulty of the test. Ms. Lee stated, “The reading portion was so hard; I couldn’t even highlight, and had to keep scrolling up.”  Many of the teachers found it hard to go back and forth from the text to the question because of it being on the computer. If the teachers could not understand, then the students will not be able to understand. It is quite sudden to change something that students and teachers have been accustomed to learning and teaching. It is difficult to type math equations, or highlight in a reading section on a computer.

In fact, parents whose children attend schools in Mississippi, Illinois, and New Jersey have opted their children out of taking the test. “…it has found some students refusing to test in about 100 districts statewide — about 12 percent of Illinois districts — as well as more than 80 Chicago Public Schools, also about 12 percent of the schools in the district,” stated the Chicago Tribune. More and more schools have seen children being opted out of the test. Many people are tired of the change in testing, and moms have even protested. The parents believe that it isn’t up to the district, the state, or the school to determine whether their children should test or not.

Students should not be scared or uncomfortable to take a test, but confident because the material is what they have been practicing. Testing on computers should be eased upon the students, and something taught from a younger age. The New Jersey Assembly even pushed back the year the PARCC will count in student or teacher evaluation until 2018-2019.

Good luck to the future generations, you’ll need it.