PARCC test hampers students more than it helps

Oct 7, 2015 by

Scores from last spring’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests were recently released in two states, Ohio and Illinois, and they were abysmal. There is every reason to believe that Rhode Island’s scores will be just as bad.

As in those other states, the Rhode Island Department of Education will probably attempt to defuse parents’ concerns by telling them that this first administration was a trial, that there will be no repercussions this year, and, with more preparation, students will do better next year. However, if we look to New York State, which has administered Pearson-developed Common Core tests for the past three years, we can see that, despite doubling down on the use of Common Core curriculum there, improvement is at best wishful thinking.

While RIDE insists that the PARCC is a high-quality test, what has been created is instead a test that values a caricature of critical thinking — overly complex, ambiguous questions that are intended to “catch” students. Those who doubt it can google “PARCC sample tests” and see for themselves. Countless adults with advanced degrees have testified that many of the Common Core worksheets and PARCC sample test questions are confusing to the point that even they cannot determine the “correct” answers. English language learners, students with disabilities, and students living in high poverty neighborhoods are particularly hard hit, but all children are hurt by the testing.

The basic problem is that the PARCC tests are aligned to the Common Core standards, which ignore developmental learning. The stated purpose of the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC tests is to “raise the bar,” under the theory that our children need to be reading far more complex texts starting in the earliest grades.

They have certainly raised the bar; noted literacy expert Russ Walsh reports that the passages are about two grade levels above the readability of the grade and age of the children. He also reports that while Common Core proponents are claiming that the standards and testing call for a higher level of critical thinking, most questions following the PARCC Language Arts passages have a very narrow focus, and can actually be answered without a firm understanding of the text. Thus, scores on the PARCC don’t in any way reflect what children are truly capable of.

Source: PARCC test hampers students more than it helps – Opinion – providencejournal.com – Providence, RI

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.