I’m not a fan of Common Core, Parcc, or high-stakes testing. With Common Core, we have a top down attempt to usurp state rights and local control over education by bribing municipalities with grants and aid. With tests like PARCC, we have bureaucrats making themselves look like they are doing something to improve education, when the opposite is true, and corporate pockets being lined at the expense of children.
When I was younger, I remember taking standardized tests. They took a few days, and besides some basic instructions such as being told to bring a number two pencil and color in the circle completely, not much else was said. Now, things are much different.
Students are constantly reminded of the PARCC test, given practice problems, and unnecessarily stressed over a test, which in the long run, is an irrelevant part of each child’s education. Bureaucrats, teachers, and administrators are teaching to the test, and doing so at the expense of productive learning. This has been my feeling all along, but it wasn’t until recently that I heard about the punishment and bribery being meted out by the North Providence School Department.
My step-daughter often comes home with stories about PARCC, and instances where instructors are teaching to the test. Opting out of the test is an option. Of course, those who do were told they would receive additional graded assignments to be completed while the other students were testing. My family discussed it, and we decided it would be best to opt-out. She brought a letter to school stating such, and within two days, I received this reply:
I received notification to remove your child from PARCC testing for this school year.
Please realize per Principal Goho that NPHS will be offering incentives to students for their performance on state assessments:
1. Students who demonstrate proficiency on the PARCC test in ELA and/or math will be issued a certificate for extra Credit to be used in classes next year. Students who show proficiency in ELA PARCC will be able to receive a test grade of 100 in a ELA/humanities class next year. Students who demonstrate proficiency in math PARCC will be able to receive a test grade of 100 in their math class next year.
2. Students will be able to earn credit towards graduation. Currently all students are required to earn at least 20 credits in order to graduate from NPHS. Students who show proficiency on ELA PARCC will have the opportunity to earn one full credit towards the required 20. In addition, students who show proficiency in math PARCC will have the opportunity to earn one full full credit towards the required 20. Therefore, students can earn a total of 2 credits that can be counted towards the 20 credits required to graduate.
3. State assessment scores are printed on student transcripts.
If you change your mind about testing, please email me by Friday, March 13 at 10 a.m.
Let’s think about this for a second: Students are being punished if they choose not to take the test, and bribed to take the test. Is this appropriate? Now, student’s who bend to the whims of the administration will be given a lower threshold to be eligible for graduation, fake grades of 100%, and extra credit to prop up potentially poor performance. When you look at North Providence High School’s graduation rate in a few years, remember that the number was inflated by extra credits toward graduation and fake grades. Those who do as they are told reap a benefit…or do they?
I’m proud to say that my step-daughter was unmoved by the promise of extra credits towards graduation, or a fake, unearned “A” on an exam. She knows that the test, it’s purpose, and execution are all a farce. Besides, as an “A” student, she doesn’t need the equivalent of academic handouts.
The use and preparation for the test is even more troubling when one looks at North Providence High School’s March calendar:
As you can see, 10 days in March are reserved for PARCC testing. Nearly 6% of the 180 day school year, not including all the time teaching to the test and “preparing” for the test. Think of all the time that could have been spent on actual instruction. Instead, we have children being taught how to take a test whose purpose is dubious at best.
Welcome to education in the 21st century.
This post first appeared on RI Republican | Limited Government, Individual Lib, please read the originial post: here