Many of the parents and students are protesting against the new PARCC tests that have been scheduled to take place in many of the states as of now. The purpose of the PARCC standardized tests is to measure the effectiveness of teachers at preparing their students for their careers and colleges in line with the federal common core standards. PARCC is short for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career.
While the core reason for carrying out these tests across many states is a good one, many believe that the questions asked in these tests are not properly in line with the grade level that they are testing. Also, some of the parents and students feel that the questions asked are not reflective of what they have learnt in their classrooms. The test for each grade level is divided in many sections including math skills, writing, problem solving, critical thinking, and reasoning.
The committee feels that there needs to be a standardized test all over the country that is in better alignment with the content that the students have been learning in their classrooms. This is because such tests will be able to measure the teaching standards at schools and whether they are in line with the standards established by the state or not.
Most of the parents have complained that the tests are more aligned towards what the teacher is doing, instead of what the child is actually learning. Also, such tests take up most parts of a child’s life and all the children end up doing is study and study and nothing else. They have also considered these tests to be a little too time consuming and difficult for their children.
Some teachers though have a reservation against the decision of these parents to opt their children out of these tests. They feel that such tests will be better able to measure how well the teachers are doing in terms of preparing their students at par with the new standards. Without tests such as these, the teachers feel that there will be no sure shot way of determining whether the students are actually learning material according to the new standards or not.
Most of the stakeholders think that these tests are not effective at making students successful after high school. In fact, they are more of forceful learning where students have to be aware of difficult concepts that are not even required at their grade level to pass these exams. The level of difficulty is really intense, and many believe that there is no reason for students to have to go through all of this. Additionally, these students already have to go through many other tests during the time they are in high school, both internal and external. The PARCC are hence simply an added pressure on these kids where they are forced to perform well.
These tests are also computer based, which means that students need to be proficient at their use of computers to be able to pass these tests. Third grade students might just be starting out to get used to typing on the computers, and this means that testing them on these computers is not entirely fair.
In some of the states, students have no option but to give these tests, since they will not receive their diploma otherwise. Though many parents have opposed this testing, it is still being enforced with parents having to fight their way through to get their children out of it.
While it seems like a great idea to have a standard form of testing in the country to measure how well the children are doing in schools, the tests should not be too difficult. Also, if parents feel that their kids would be better off if they opted out of these tests, then they should be allowed to do so. There is no reason to force children to take tests they are not comfortable with taking.