PARCC coming to East campus

A new form of testing, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), has been implemented this year for Illinois state schools.
This change follows the newly adopted Common Core State Standards across the nation, which makes states test with either Smarter Balanced or PARCC.
This new PARCC test has to be given to all students grades 3rd through 8th, and one in grades 9-12.
Paul Sally, the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum at New Trier, said, “Originally, the state had required that year group had to be juniors, but they eventually gave schools a choice. Similar to many districts we thought it made most sense to test freshmen.”
The previous testing for juniors has been the Prairie State Achievement Exam, which was two days and included an ACT portion that students could use towards college.
“Many people don’t yet realize that we are testing the freshman, not the juniors as originally planned,” said Peg Stevens, New Trier’s testing coordinator.
The PARCC differs from the Prairie State in that it takes up twice the amount of time as the old test.
“The freshmen will be taking the first part of the English test on March 17 and Algebra I students will be taking the first part of the math test on March 18,” said Sally.
However, there will be a second round of testing for the second part of English and math, on May 19th and 20th.
Another difference is that the PARCC testing does not include an ACT, as the Prairie State did. From the Class of 2017 onwards students will have to take the ACT on their own.
“Nor will any part of the PARCC testing be used by colleges for admission in the foreseeable future,” Sally said.
While the test doesn’t affect the Winnetka Campus this year, it most likely will in the future. Sally reported that the state plans to have all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors taking the PARCC in 2016.
The testing is offered digitally or on paper. New Trier plans to stick to the traditional methods for this year’s test, with iPad testing creating a big liability.
At the local district elementary and middle schools, the PARCC testing is causing even more of a mess.
All kids in grades 3-8 will be doing their testing on computers, which results in the school’s technology labs being closed for eight weeks and about 13-14 hours of instruction time being lost per grade, according to The North Shore Weekend.
Many parents have been expressing concerns about the testing and have wanted to know if they can opt out of it.
However, the kids would have to stay in the exam room if they refused to take the test.
Peg Stevens concluded, “With so much confusion and all the complaints about the testing, it will be interesting to see how it all turns out.”