PARCCing in the Wrong Spot

Victoria Ribarich, Contributing Writer

Students and teachers all over the country are buzzing about the PARCC. The PARCC is a standardized test that many states agreed to use rather than other standardized tests. New Jersey is one of those states. Instead of the NJASK and HSPA, the PARCC will be used to evaluate students in grades 3 to 11.  The first round of PARCC testing was completed during the first week of March. The week was hectic, stretching out the days for PARCC. Winter storms caused delayed openings and school closings.  One thing that many students enjoyed during the PARCC was the three hour delays for non-testers.  Ninth and eleventh graders came in 3 hours late while the tenth graders went in at regular time to take the tests, and the cycle continued as the grades each took turns going in early or late.

Opinions about the test have been heated throughout the year. Many students exclaimed that they “just put random words or sentences in the essay areas”, or that they “didn’t even try”.  Junior Matt Rogers said, “I feel there’s a need for some type of test, although I don’t believe that this is the correct format,” he revealed that “It was pretty hard, and the reading was difficult. My self-esteem didn’t go down though, because I knew that this test wasn’t going to count.”  Although his confidence did not go down, many others did. The stress of the test coupled with its challenging questions made some student anxious. Marina Ford, a sophomore at Pinelands Regional High School wrote about her PARCC experience on the Save Our Schools New Jersey website. She said, “There were some major difficulties logging in and when it came to the actual test. I discovered that the questions were very vague and unclear. These PARCC exams have done nothing but mess with my valuable class time and significantly lower my confidence in my competence as a student. A large majority of my classmates are not taking this exam seriously because it honestly feels like a joke.”

As PARCC is not mandatory, many students opted out if their parents did not want them to take the test. Tests are supposed to help students relate their learned information and apply it to real world situations.  Many believe that the PARCC did not do this and that it takes too much time away from class.

Will the PARCC test remain the standardized test for the state of New Jersey? Some residents believe that protests will bring about some changes.  Time will tell if PARCCing continues to be a major part of our school year.