The PARCC Exams: A Not-So-Brilliant Idea.

School is a place for children of all ages – a place in which adults have set aside strictly for the purpose of teaching, educating and informing these children. When tests like DBAs (District Benchmark Assessments were a laborious and time-wasting test that would take place in schools every semester or so) and SBAs (School Based Assessments were the annual student {starting at 3rd grade for NM kids} exam which have the horrid and painstaking  reputation by students and happen for weeks at a time) are put into play, the weeks in which they take place removes every aspect of learning out of the school picture, from the time it takes to complete the test to preparing for it in the first place. The idea behind such tests are simple:

“How do we, the authorities, know if kids have learned anything throughout the school year?”

The answer, however, is not so simple. With tests like these, results may become inaccurate because of student’s anxiety towards the fairly intimidating tests. Some don’t even try! Also, if tests are the only way the authorities know how us kids are doing…. what are our grades for, exactly?

As bad as those standardized sound in the first place, it gets much, much worse. This year at Jefferson Middle school, a new test is coming into play: The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career tests, or PARCC. These new tests are being exercised in certain states as a sort of test itself – are the PARCCs a good idea? The results this school year in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pensilvania, New York, Maryland, Rode Island, New Jersey, and Washington D.C will tell them the answer. Where the SBAs and DBAs were only for a week at a time, the PARCC literally takes MONTHS for every grade to complete.  8th grade, 7th grade, and 6th grade PARCCS cannot happen at one, (for some reason…) resulting in weeks of {say} 8th graders NOT learning while in school. (No bells occur during this time, which means kids just sit and wait SILENTLY in the same room all day while fellow students take the exam.) Altogether, the PARCC tests (there are two – both after winter break) take up approximately four months to complete, where only about TWO WEEKS are regular school weeks.

 

 

“It’s simply unacceptable,” as an anonymous parent furiously points out.

Aside from the wasted time, the PARCC exam in even more annoying and laborious that the SBAs. The entire test is taken on the schools’ computers. Kids’ eyes are going to get awfully tired of staring at a screen 24/7, added to their brain’s exhausted state. In addition,  Jefferson will have NO COMPUTERS during these approximate four months. Certain teachers (like Ms. Kinney) use technology as a steady base of their ciriculum in an effort to save paper – what will they do?          What will tech and typing classes (every 8th grader has one) do in this time period? What about students’ plain need to look things up, type papers, and do research? Nothing, I suppose…?

More so, what happens when too many kids take the test at once? The whole state (hundreds of thousands of kids) will be taking the exam at the EXACT SAME TIME. If too many kids use the program at once, it’s likely to slow everything down, or atleast cause serious difficulty. Simply using the same wi-fi at Jefferson (just 900 kids) causes sluggish responses. Worst case scenario, the entire server could fail. What then? The authority’s brilliant time management system requires that every grade has just a week for each exam – something that could change very quickly if servers are slow.

On the official PARCC website, they describe their test as this: “The PARCC tests are high quality, computer-based K–12 assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy. They are carefully crafted to give teachers, schools, students, and parents better and more useful information on how we’re preparing our kids for their futures. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year.”

How accurate is this? First of all, they will be testing EVERY SINGLE SUBJECT – including electives such as art, orchestra, home Ec., etc. Second, how are they “crafted?” are they crafted from oak wood with the finest materials? Give me a break. They are machine-automated tests that will fry a child’s brain. Third, why are these tests K-12? The acronym literally stands for “College and Career Readiness.” I’m sure kindergarteners have a clear plan to get to college and achieve a steady income…! Not even high-schoolers have everything completely figured out.

On top of it all, kids will still be taking SBAs as well as the PARCC exams. Yay!

All in all, the PARCC exams are a complete and utter waste of time and money. For four months, kids will not learn ANYTHING in their school. Instead, New Mexicans of all ages will be forced to sit in front of a computer for hours at a time, devoid of any mind-engaging activity. Students and teachers alike are counting down the days until the epidemic of standardized tests hits Jefferson Middle School this winter. When it does, New Mexico will NOT be a happy place.

– E

P.S. You know, students can opt out of standardized tests by law. I wonder how/if this action (in mass amounts) could be used to make a statement…?

The picture above can be found with an incredibly inspiring story of a PARCC protest (composed of many kids) in MONTCLAIR, N.J.

Comment below with opinions, comments, insults, and exclamations of disbelief. Thanks for reading, Jets!

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2 thoughts on “The PARCC Exams: A Not-So-Brilliant Idea.

  1. As a New Mexican student, I can completely identify with the absolute absurdity of the PARCC exams. What EXACTLY is the point of harshly testing students in the first place? Testing takes away so much learning time, it’s almost pointless to participate. I come to school for my education, not so I can prove that my teachers are doing their jobs.
    I feel tempted to completely drop out of the exam. I am simply lucky to have connections to do so. Students who can’t drop out are the ones who sometimes lower the school’s overall grade in such tests, and rightfully so…. What happens when only failing students are left to give Jefferson it’s reputation? Can we get them to drop out too? Haha.

  2. You can say this test is a plot hatched by The Illuminati or (insert conspiracy theory here), yet it really was caused by people who should not be qualified to administer tests like this. This test is unfair, and I think that teacher’s salaries are being considered to relate directly to student’s scores on tests like this one.

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