Wednesday, February 4, 2015

12 questions every parent must ask about the #PARCC

    Parents, print this out and bring it with you next time you meet with representatives from the NJ State Board of Education, the NJ DOE, or any administrator anywhere who tries to tell you this test is a magic bullet:

  1.  The reading level of some of the language arts test questions has been found to be several grades above the tested grade. How is a child who cannot read at that grade level and can't understand the text or the test questions expected to complete the test?

  2. What happens when a student—particularly in the younger grades—doesn't have the keyboard skills to successfully navigate the test? How is that fair to the child?
  3. If the tests are supposed to be diagnostically useful, how come students and teachers can't see them to see what students got wrong and where they need help?
  4. If the tests are supposed to be diagnostically useful, how come the scores won't be made available until the following school year, essentially rendering them meaningless? 
  5. Why are the cut scores being determined after the students take the tests?
  6. Why aren't you concerned that Pearson is advertising for test scorers at $12/hour on Craig's List
  7. A high school student's GPA is a more accurate indicator of how well they will do in their first year of college than any standardized test. If the PARCC can 'magically' determine college and career readiness, why don't 4-year colleges require the test for admission instead of the SAT or ACT? 
  8. Currently, there are 10 states left in the PARCC consortium. If the test is so fantastic, why have half the states in the original consortium dropped out?

  9. Bari Erlichson, Chief Performance Officer/Assistant Commissioner of Data, Research, Evaluation and Reporting at the NJDOE admitted in a public forum that "the PARCC end-of-year/end-of-course assessments —are not intended to be the... diagnostic form of assessment... that would diagnose and be able to inform instruction... These are in fact summative test scores that have a different purpose than the one that we're talking about in terms of diagnosis." (emphasis mine) So, why are we being told they are diagnostic? Why are we being told teachers will be able to use the results to help students?
  10. How do you justify submitting children to this test when many adults cannot pass the sample tests?
  11. Test design expert Bob Shephard has said that "For many of the sample released questions, there is, arguably, no answer among the answer choices that is correct or more than one answer that is correct, or the question simply is not, arguably, actually answerable as written." How do you justify placing a child's education and a teacher's career in the hands of such a flawed instrument?
  12. How do you justify the narrowing of the curriculum, the cuts to the related arts, foreign languages, physical education, and other subjects when so much research shows that a well-rounded education is much better preparation for a productive life?

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