PARCC: The Lows of Standardized Testing Commentary

JOHN BELLIPANNI//TARA O’GORMAN

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC): Colorado’s latest ploy to “advance” education?

Who hates PARCC?

Students.

Teachers.

State and local school boards.

Who likes it?

No one.unnamed-1

Students are one factor.

“There is a gap in the [reliability of standardized tests],” Colorado state Rep. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) said. Lundeen said students begin to think, “Wait a second, this test isn’t really meaningful to me.”

No, it’s not.

The PARCC test is essentially a waste of time. Students have no dog in the fight, why would they try?

Teachers are affected, too.

It is no secret that teachers around Colorado are salty over recent reforms in personal evaluations. Adding an invalid test, with gaps, to the mix would send any reasonable teacher over the edge.

Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia said there are flaws in using tests like PARCC to assess teachers. “It’s not in [students’] interest to protect the teachers.” When students can purposefully influence teachers’ pay, Garcia said, there is an issue of reliability.

School boards don’t support the use of over-testing, either.

“There needs to be accountability in students making progress toward success,” Douglas County School Board President Kevin Larsen said. “We’ve got to get back to getting meaningful tests that help us change and adjust the structure.” Larsen, like Lundeen, believes assessments have lost credibility in the district. “As students grow older they begin to realize, ‘This doesn’t matter to me,’” he said.

It is yet to be determined whether PARCC testing is a colossal failure with practically no application. However, it does have potential and so much can be done. Rather than using PARCC as an inaccurate measure of student and teacher growth, it should be a mechanism for pursuing higher education. Why not reward students on their performance on PARCC testing? Scholarships could be an efficient vessel for more accurate results, benefiting students, teachers and administrators alike.

But, until these measures are taken, PARCC testing will continue to be a joke to students.

Education should never be a joke.

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