The issue with standardized tests

Reilly SIgnor, Reporter

     The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or the PARCC Test, is a relatively new standardized test designed to pinpoint students’ readiness for college and careers after high school. The PARCC test replaced the ISAT for elementary students and the PSAT for high school students taking junior level classes in Illinois.

     Some students who are taking junior level classes even when they are not juniors are even as young as freshmen when they have to take the test. “Having to take the PARCC test as a freshman was difficult because I missed a lot of work in my other classes, which were harder than my classes this year,” said Kylie Johnson (‘18).

     She, along with many others, would agree that most of the material on the test hadn’t even been taught yet or didn’t even learn about it until after taking a different class.

     Apparently, your knowledge of how to solve algebra problems or Greek/Latin roots is very relevant to whatever field you decide to go into. Because the test is so new, there is no real effect on the students based on the results they get. Although in the near future, those results could affect college admissions or whether or not students can get a certain job.

     Teachers and administrators encourage students to take the test seriously even though it doesn’t affect them because if the results were to mean anything, they would be a reflection on the teacher that the student had in the subject they’re testing on.

     The average time given  to take a certain portion of the test is two class periods over three days. This takes students out of another one of their classes that’s not even related to the test and falling behind everyone else. Sometimes, if you finish early the test administrator will let you go to the class you’re missing; but that depends on how early you finish and who the administrator is.

     The PARCC test replaced the ISAT and PSAT because the state standards changed and this test is an updated version to meet those standards. This test would be effective if it were to mean something. The results would be a good way to see which areas of the state need to improve and which ones are doing just fine. They would also be a good reflection of the teachers in each area, but students would really have to try their best in order for those reflections to be accurate.

     Since the PARCC test doesn’t affect students directly, and probably won’t for a couple more years, these basically pointless tests are putting unnecessary stress on students because of the very long testing period and falling behind in missed classes.  

     Technically, as of now the administrator cannot legally force students take the test, but they are still required to sit there for the entire testing session after logging into the test. Students should not be forced to take tests like these, the decision should be up to the parents/guardians of the students.

      Recently, there has been an increasing amount of people protesting against this test. Parents and students have been trying to make the public more aware of how the PARCC test is administered and how it affects the students through Facebook, Twitter, and even at district meetings in some cases.

      Despite their efforts, it will take a few more years to recognize how effective the PARCC test has been so far. Perhaps, once the PARCC test becomes relevant to students, the negative connotation that comes with it will change as well.