Monday, January 20, 2020
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Three faces of the PARCC tests in 2014-15

The PARCC tests have ended for this year, and plans are certainly under way to administer them in the 2015-16 school year in about 10 states. We present without prejudice here the views of three different groups: teachers at an elementary school in Colorado who are forced by law to administer the tests, a group of student protesters in New Mexico, and an educator who lists a few straightforward facts about the PARCC tests.

First, the teachers, who show amazing creativity in trying to get students excited about the tests. You will hear references in the song, which comes with back-up singers, to the “TCAP,” which was Colorado’s standardized test used for accountability purposes before PARCC.

Next, we look at a group of hundreds of student protesters who chanted “Say No to PARCC” outside the New Mexico State Capitol on a very snowy day.

One student stands up and cries out, “We represent students of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and of this United States of America! We will not stand idly by and watch as our entire high school career gets based off of one test. We are here for a peaceful protest. We are here to protest against the PARCC test. Our voices will be heard!”

I included this video in the story mainly because it shows students trying to convince the right people at the state level to change the law and rid our schools of bad tests. It would be better to convince federal lawmakers to redo the No Child Left Behind law, which is driving the laws about standardized testing in individual states, but everybody has to start somewhere.

Perhaps what they’re so upset about can be explained in a few facts about PARCC, presented here by Robin Giebes.

Keep in mind that many “facts” presented in the video, especially when it comes to opting out and other protesters, don’t apply to all states where the PARCC tests were administered.

In addition, the time spent on the tests will be reduced for the 2015-16 school year, and the tests won’t be given in two administrations, one at the 75-percent mark and the other at the 90-percent mark, pending approval from PARCC’s state leads. It’s still a long test, though: The hours spent on testing should come down to a more reasonable and manageable number.

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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