PARCC tests do matter


Computers set up in the APR room for students to take the PARCC.

by Olivia Traphagen

Glen Rock High School has finished PARCC testing.

To answer the question the whole student-body was wondering, the PARCC tests do count, in a sense. They count for the school’s national ranking. In order to graduate, a student must get a certain grade on the SATs or ACTs only if a student refuses to take the PARCC.

Mr. Wolff is the head guidance counselor at Glen Rock High School.

“The department of education had clearly released some tentative guidelines for graduation requirements. At the same time, there was also a very strong anti-PARCC wave that caught fire around a lot of the PARCC states. It was especially strong in NJ, where people were opposed to the test for a number of different reasons, so they opted out anyway without looking closely at what the Department had released,” Wolff said.

Mr. Wolff says that the PARCC tests measure a student’s abilities in certain areas in language arts and math. Also, he says are there are numerous amounts of ways that the PARCC tests will be counted towards graduation, though a few states are trying to mend it in some ways.

“PARCC impacts the school district in that the state expects districts to have a 95% participation rate. Plus, the state has a mandatory testing requirement built in. That requirement is a little stronger than federal guidelines, where we are required to test at certain grade levels.  NJ has chosen to continue to do it grades 3-11. The state wants people to take the test, so they’re very demanding in terms of meeting the 95% participation. That’s something we need to do our best to achieve,” Wolff said.

The PARCC measures how well students have done on the common core, standards that a group of states have agreed to measure themselves by.

“They replace the high school proficiency tests, which is another test that had measured standards, although the high school proficiency test measured state standards rather than national standards,”Arlotta said.

Some students, however, have yet to take the test seriously.

“I think PARCC testing is dumb. I tried on the English, but not on the math, and it is not worth missing class time for it. The PARCC, I think is useless because it puts stress on students for no reason,” Hallie Johnson (’18) said.

“Since I am against the PARCC, I really didn’t try my best because I think that it is unnecessary,” Tara Szwaluk (’18) said.

Since the PARCC test is computer-based, it is easier to get feedback faster.

“I think, in theory, it has some good merit because one of the negatives with the previous testing, since it wasn’t on the computer, it took us a long time to get the data back and, therefore, if it takes you a long time to get the data back,” Arlotta said. “You can’t really make any decisions with it.”

Some students are already looking toward next year.

“I don’t think that these tests matter although I probably should have tried a little harder, but there’s always next year,” Szwaluk said. 

Though the testing is over with, students still may have some regrets on the amount of effort they put forth.

Wolff said, “Right now, the PARCC test looks to measure your abilities in certain areas in language arts and math. As it becomes more specific, and the data becomes cleaner and more long-term, we can figure out how to best use it to possibly adapt our curriculum. We could possibly target certain changes that we feel we should make for the benefits of the students.

“There are a variety of ways it is being used right now in counting towards graduation. However, there are plans by the state to change that or mend it in some ways. Those plans are tentative, and if we get anything official we’ll certainly broadcast it out to everybody.”