The state should recognize that not all schools can easily administer the PARCC assessment
February 18, 2015
The state mandates that all schools administer the PARCC exams. This causes problems for schools like Cherry Hill East for a number of reasons. Since East has a large student body with about 2,200 students, the testing times must spread out over the month of March. Eastside believes the state is acting in an inconsiderate manner as all schools, regardless of size, resources, and funding are required to take the PARCC test.
The state fails to recognize that not all schools are the same; some schools lack the capability to efficiently and effectively administer the exam. While the district has spent over 650,000 dollars this year to prepare for the technology requirements, there is still a lack of resources necessary for administering the test to an entire grade at one time, which would make the testing much more efficient. Every school has different needs that must be met to have an efficient testing atmosphere in addition to students with I.E.Ps and other special requirements who have different needs. Although East has received new resources for the assessment, complications with technology could still occur, which would prevent students from completing the test in the allotted time.
Primarily, students will miss a large amount of class due to the length of these tests. Although certain classes will not meet during designated grade testing weeks, students will miss time that could potentially be spent learning. Mixed-grade courses do meet during the exam, forcing students in classes such as science, math and world language to miss crucial hours of schoolwork. Eastside believes that this lack of class time will lead to lower test scores, especially on the New Jersey Biology Competency Test and AP Exams.
With very vague instructions mandated throughout the school districts, administrators and teachers alike are unable to inform students. Since the state has not effectively advised the school district about the PARCC test, the district is not able to inform the students, and therefore the students are not able to inform their parents. This lack of communication between the state and school district has led to rumors and misinformation about the PARCC exam, which has left school districts in a state of oblivion.
Additionally, the nature of the exam will cause unwarranted stress to students. Not only will the long testing hours tax students heavily, but also long classes—which can be up to two hours—will harm the learning environment, as students will be overly exhausted by the end of each period.
By administering the PARCC Exam, New Jersey has created a multitude of issues in East and schools alike. The previous state exam, the HSPA, did not present visible faults or create discord in the school system. The new exam is detrimental to student growth and will ultimately result in an immense amount of complications.