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Poll: Should PARCC Testing Stay or Should It Go?

The standardized test of NJ public school students has been controversial from the get-go. Opponents can’t wait for its demise. Supporters say it has its merits. Where do you stand?

The PARCC testing of New Jersey public school students has been controversial since before the launch of the exams four years ago, with vocal groups of parents organizations, lawmakers and the largest teachers union all critical of the lengthy tests of language arts and math.

Now that the Murphy administration is moving to reduce and ultimately end the use of the online testing, its proponents are raising their voices.

On Monday, during a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly education committees, both committee chairs sought to slow down the administration’s efforts to scale back PARCC testing, saying the state needs to have a new assessment in place to replace it. Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), head of the Senate Education Committee, even said she wants to have a say in the decision and suggested the state needs to be assessing student performance against even stronger standards.

An avowed opponent of high-stakes testing, Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday reiterated his opposition to PARCC but deferred to his state education commissioner to set the schedule for phasing out the test. Ultimately, the decision will be up to the state Board of Education, which has delayed making a decision until at least next month.

What do you think New Jersey should do about PARCC?

  • PARCC and other standardized tests have taken away the ability of teachers to be creative and forces them to teach to the test. Why can’t we just trust that students’ passing their classes and getting their diplomas mean that they have satisfied all the criteria needed for them to succeed in college or in a job?

  • I am 100 percent behind Murphy’s plan. PARCC was bad from the beginning. These multi-day tests take up too much time and put too much pressure on students, particularly when passage is a high school graduation requirement. Murphy’s plan is to choose another, less pressurized test for accountability and to immediately cut back on the amount of PARCC testing and ultimately get rid of it. That’s the way to go.

  • I don’t care if it’s PARCC or something else, but we need some sort of state testing program to ensure that we are not simply promoting students because it’s expedient. Life keeps getting more complicated and we are doing our children and society a disservice if we release them without being sure they have the skills they will need for further schooling or work. We can’t get rid of PARCC until we have a replacement ready.

  • Despite its rocky start, PARCC has proven successful both in measuring how well students are doing, and in giving educators the information they need on what concepts children are having difficulty learning so they can remediate these areas. The state should be putting more emphasis on the test and that includes putting more emphasis on scores as part of teacher evaluations, rather than minimizing its use for that purpose.

  • I’m with Ruiz. The Legislature should play a greater role in figuring out how to assess students, be it using PARCC or some other means. The latest PARCC scores were dismal, and it seems like we have always been told students are not performing up to par, regardless of what the Department of Education has done. Let’s let those outside the field of education have a say. Hopefully they will set tougher standards: A student who graduates from high school in New Jersey should be working at 12th grade level, not 10th grade.

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