This year juniors and freshmen are taking a new standardized test called PARCC, which stands for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The test will measure student achievement in English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy and Mathematics based on the learning standards contained in the common core state standards, and may replace the MCAS.
The PARCC exam assesses knowledge of the “common core,” which was created by 48 states to set “clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics,” according to corestandards.org.
“Today, 44 states have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce,” reports the website.
For this year, the test doesn’t actually count. The tests are being “field tested” which means that the creators of the tests are going to use the results to collect data to see which questions work and which ones don’t.
As of now, the juniors and freshmen will be taking the PBA test (Performance-Based Assessment). Three honors geometry classes and four American literature classes took the test the week of April 1. Starting May 5, four algebra I classes will take the EOY (End-Of-Year Assessment). While the exact dates have not been identified all EOY testing must be complete by June 6.
Freshmen Christian Almieda took the test and said, “I thought it was very challenging and it had problems fit for seniors…not freshmen.”
For grade 11, each section had three days of testing which was scheduled to take 80 minutes.
“Most the of students finished earlier than that,” said English teacher Charles Cangemi, “I’m sure if the test actually counted some students would have tried harder and it would have taken longer.”
PARCC is not just a one-year test.
Principal Lisa Nemeth said, “PARCC eventually will be grades nine, ten and eleven. We’re only field testing grade nine and eleven this year.”
Nemeth said she had no say in which students were picked to take the test. The Massachusetts Department of Education randomly chose high schools and students to participate in the trial testing.
So far, 23 states are scheduled to administer PARCC. Nemeth calls this new testing the “new and improved MCAS”.
PARCC testing can be taken either on a computer or on paper. At LHS, “It’ll be computer-based on the chromebooks. That’s why we got them,” said Nemeth.