PARCC Testing Now Underway
The second year of online testing is now underway in Westminster Public Schools and the tests look a little different from last year. In response to criticism from parents and educators, the state mandated tests are shorter and the testing window has been consolidated.
Testing schedules vary by building so students and parents should check with individual schools for specific details.
Under plans outlined by the Colorado Department of Education, 3rd through 9th grade students will be assessed in English language arts, math, science and social studies. In addition, the state has changed the guidelines for high school sophomore and juniors.
Students in grades 10 and 11 are no longer required to take the annual spring test. Instead, 10th grade students will take the PSAT this year while 11th graders will take the ACT. Next year’s 11th grade students will take the SAT.
The English language arts and math tests were developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and are used by many states across the country while the tests in science and social studies were developed by the state of Colorado to meet state academic standards.
While Westminster Public Schools has shown steady improvement over several years of testing, the District has long believed that the standardized, “high stakes” testing program used by Colorado is not compatible with a true Competency Based System (CBS).
State tests, like PARCC, measure students by their grade level (age) at one specific point in time during the school year, while CBS teaches students at their appropriate learning level.
As a result, some students who are working towards competency on a specific skill or filling in missing pieces in their education will not have been exposed to information on a standardized test. In spite of potential lower scores, it is District policy to have staff teach their students at the appropriate learning level and “teach to the test.”
Go here to learn more about the tests or take a practice test for yourself.
Posted March 21, 2016