Wednesday, August 5, 2020
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Instead of 2 parts, PARCC tests might become 1

Representatives of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, told Ohio lawmakers that they might consider streamlining what is now two parts for each test down to just one, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Tests from the multi-state testing consortium are given not only in Ohio but in Maryland, Illinois, and about a dozen other states as well. Students in third through eighth grade take one “test” in English and one in math each year. But each subject test is actually divided into two parts, one being called a “Performance-Based Assessment” and the other an “End of Year” test.

Ordinarily, the PBA part is given to students after they complete about three-fourths of the school year, and the EOY test is given at about the 90-percent mark.

In high school, tests are available for algebra I, algebra II, geometry, and ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-grade English language arts. Not all states administer all six high school tests, though. These also have a PBA and EOY test component to them.

That means, students sit down a total of four times to take the standardized tests in the two subjects. At two and a half hours per part, that’s a total of 10 hours of testing for the two subjects every year. That’s just too much for some lawmakers.

“We’re seriously looking at this,” the paper quoted Jeff Nellhaus, chief of assessment for PARCC, as saying, referring to the possibility of streamlining the tests. “This isn’t a bunch of happy talk. We have heard what you all are saying.”

Pat Kramer, vice president of national services for Pearson, told Ohio’s Senate Advisory Committee on Testing that complaints of testing time aren’t unique to Ohio but are “a common theme” from several states.

“How can we make the tests somewhat shorter and do them in one window?” Mr Nellhaus asked before the committee.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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