By Jessica Lipman
College is usually the next step in a student’s career after high school. It is sometimes hard to tell if teachers are helping teenagers prepare for this next step, or if they are holding them back. Taking months to prepare for and determine if someone is considered college ready, the PARCC offers students the opportunity to test their abilities and determine if they are ready to continue their studies. Many students, parents, and teachers question whether this exam is necessary and beneficial or if it wastes students’ time.
Created in 2010 with the purpose of designing an exam to evaluate how ready students are for future careers, the PARCC originally began with twenty four states participating. As of 2018, only five states continue the annual test, along with the District of Columbia. According to Adam Clark, writer for New Jersey Education, explains why so many states have broke away from the PARCC. Clark states that the most common complaint from educators is that the “test questions and test format are too confusing, especially for younger students.” However, that does not stop school systems requiring students to take the exam.
The PARCC, also known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, caused a multitude of reactions. Many can agree it is biased and does not reveal a student’s true talent, but others also believe it is a great tool to show what is expected from students before they graduate or move onto their next grade. The main group of people who view the PARCC negatively are the students. Junior at Glenelg, Molly Stuart, explains that she finds the PARCC test stressful for students because “It seems as if teachers over exaggerate how important the PARCC really is when it really is not that valuable for getting into college.” However, students must pass each PARCC exam in order to graduate from high school. Senior Maria Salandra as well agrees with Stuart on the exam being a source of stress. This year, Salandra had to make up the PARCC, because she did not attend last year and the week of testing was “difficult because of tests in her other classes she needed to study and make up for along with taking the PARCC.” With the amount of stress already placed upon high school students, it is unnecessary for the school to add more of it with a test that does not matter to students.
Although participating in the exam is a great way for students to see if they are college ready, a recent study in Maryland has shown that a large amount of students are failing the PARCC. According to Liz Bowie and Tim Prudente, reporters of the Baltimore Sun, “students have made only slight progress and less than half statewide passed the tests [from last year’s assessment].” With the release of last year’s results, many educators were disappointed in their students. Since results like these are being produced, why are states still taking a part in the exam?
With the annual debate as to whether students should participate in the PARCC assessment or not, it seems as if the controversy will continue on. Five states still participate in PARCC assessments, there is a common trend of state participation decreasing as time goes on. The real question students want answered is educators want students to be worried over a test that does not matter to them or if they will always be required to participate in order to graduate.