PARCC Testing Debate Shifts Once Again From Classroom to Political Arena

While adults go back and forth, NJ Spotlight offers more sample questions from the controversial standardized exam

Another quarter-million New Jersey students took the PARCC tests yesterday, but the spotlight started turning back to the adults, as supporters and foes jumped back into the fray over the controversial new exams.

Gov. Chris Christie spoke in favor of the exams — at least for now — at his latest “town hall,” while a couple dozen opponents protested outside the Hoboken offices of Pearson Education, the administrator of the tests in New Jersey and 10 other states.

Meanwhile, debate is expected at an Assembly education committee hearing – scheduled for today, weather permitting — on a bill that would set a statewide policy for families who want their children to sit out the PARCC exam.

Maybe the most provocative comments came from Christie, who has backed off from his previous support of the Common Core State Standards, which are the basis of the new testing.

Asked at a Fair Lawn forum whether his widely-quoted “grave concerns” about the Common Core extended to the PARCC, Christie responded:

“Not yet, because I don’t know how the PARCC exam went. You see, we are going to have to test, everybody, we are going to have to test. We need to know where your children stand. We need to know where they are learning or not learning. And we can’t tell that from just their grades they get in class. There is too much variability.

“Now we are going to see what the results of PARCC look like. What I concluded as governor was the (previous) NJASK was a failure, and we were not getting the kinds of information we needed,” Christie continued. “But I’m not going to kill PARCC before we take PARCC.”

As for the opt-out movement, which shows no signs of abating, the governor made this plea: “I would urge parents, please, before you even known if (PARCC) has efficacy or not, don’t opt your kids out of it. We are going to have to test kids, and I will make sure we do it as reasonably as possible.”


As the political and policy debates continue, NJ Spotlight continues this week’s daily posting of a question or series of questions from the PARCC practice exams. Today, we go back to mathematics, this time with sample questions for eighth-graders.

The test is among those that permit the use of calculators on some questions. The first two questions sampled below do not allow a calculator; the third question does allow the use of a calculator.

Also posted below are the answers to yesterday’s sample questions from the 11th- grade language arts test.

1) Solve this equation for x:
0.5(5 − 7x) = 8 − (4x + 6)

2) The graph represents y as a function of x.

Click to expand/close

Which additional point can be plotted so that the graph continues to represent y as a function of x?

A) (0,1)

B) (2,2)

C) (3,4)

D) (4,2)

3) Use the information provided to answer Part A and Part B. (Calculators permitted)

The owner of a computer store is offering a discount on a computer sold in the store.

Original Price: $598.00

25% off original price

8% tax applied after discount

Part A:

The owner offers a payment plan where the total cost of the computer is paid in 6 equal monthly payments.

  • Determine the amount of each monthly payment.
  • Show your work or explain your answer.
  • Enter the monthly payment and your work or explanation in the space provided.
  • Part B:

    A different computer is advertised as 40% off of the original price. After the discount, the tax is $44.64.

  • Determine the total price of this computer after the discount and tax are applied.
  • Show your work or explain your answer.
  • Determine the original price of this computer.
  • Show your work or explain your answer.
  • Enter your answers and your work or explanations in the space provided.
  • *

    Yesterday’s answers to 11th grade language arts sample question:

    3. Part A: 3

    Part B: 3

    4. Part A: 1

    Part B: 4

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