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PARCC testing is a waste of time, resources

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To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing in regard to the PARCC testing that has recently been implemented at NKHS. Many people seem to believe that this test is supposed to help students get ready for college, but in reality, it is wasting our time and money on a test that cannot truly measure a student’s intelligence.

According to a Washington Post article written by Valerie Strauss dated January 17, 2015, Peter Bavis, assistant superintendent of District 202 in Evanston Township, Illinois, called the test “neither valid nor reliable” (Strauss 1). Bavis goes on to say, in a memo sent to Superintendent Eric Witherspoon of the same district, and Dr. Paul Goran, “Students taking both PARCC mathematics and reading language arts tests will spend more time taking PARCC tests than aspiring lawyers will spend sitting for the Bar Exam with no payoff. This is true in elementary, middle school and high school” (Strauss 1). This reflects the information being tossed around closer to home. At North Kingstown High School, around 4 weeks have been set aside specifically for PARCC testing. This single test will throw our schedule off balance, heightening the stress of already anxiety-ridden students, and deprive us of time better spent in the classroom, learning. There’s also the question of what programs will be cut to feed the ever-growing testing industry. Arts, Music, and Language programs may all be put at risk to pay for a single test.

This doesn’t even begin to address the many problems and flaws with standardized testing in general. For a measure that is supposed to prepare students for college, standardized tests have been proven time and again to be a faulty measure of student achievement. According to Procon.org, standardized testing does nothing to improve a student’s academic prowess and is “an unreliable measure of student performance” (Procon.org 1). Lynn Olson of Education Week says in an article published May 23, 2001 that “between 50 percent and 80 percent of the improvement in a school’s average test scores from one year to the next was temporary and was caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning or productivity” (Olson 1). English Language Learners and students with disabilities may also be at risk if forced to take the same tests as students who do not fit into either of the aforementioned categories. If this were true, it would be in direct violation of the North Kingstown School Department policy against discrimination, which is described in detail in section 504 of the North Kingstown School Committee Policy Manual. Clearly, a standardized test at North Kingstown High School will be detrimental to students’ education for one reason or another.

In summary, the PARCC test at North Kingstown High School, as well as standardized testing in general, is something that should be avoided at all costs. Education, like all things, is a work in progress. And it is our job to make sure that progress isn’t hindered by a defective test.

Rachel Berson
Sophomore

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PARCC testing is a waste of time, resources