Amidst much concern over the state of standardized testing across the nation, Little Ferry School District in North New Jersey has indicated it is one of several school districts pleased with the recent changes announced to next school year’s PARCC testing. In a recent article published in NorthJersey.com local news, a spokesperson for the district indicated the changes being made by PARCC are positive ones.
In May, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers announced a major change to the amount of testing students would undergo. Under last year’s testing requirements, students faced two different tests – a Performance Based Assessment (PBA) given once 75% of the year was complete and an End of Year (EOY) test given once 90% of the school year was complete. Though this style of testing was aimed to view student knowledge on more than one day of the year, rather than a snapshot day, the amount of time students were expected to be assessed became cumbersome. Many students found their anxiety increased dramatically and their testing stamina waned as the second assessment neared.
Little Ferry Board of Education President Nicholas Fytros summed up this concern well in the North Jersey article. “It is somewhat difficult to prepare in March and then go back to the regular curriculum and then prepare again for another test at the end of the year,” he said. “It hurts students, as their anxiety builds.”
PARCC and Pearson, the testing company responsible for creating and administering the PARCC assessments surveyed teachers, students, and administrators after participation in testing during the 2014-201 school year. The data collected was used to guide this latest decision. And, though PARCC has not released the new testing blueprints for their new single test, the simple fact the latest vote to shorten testing requirements took place is enough for a relief for many school districts. They “really listened to the district’s concerns,” Rachel Carletto, Little Ferry’s Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction stated.