PARCC arrives at RB

Second round of testing next week

Morgan DiVittorio, Story Editor

Most people are all too familiar with standardized testing. From placement tests when entering RB, to the ACT and SAT for college, standardized testing has been a part of the student experience for as long as they can remember.  This year, Illinois introduced students to the new PARCC test.  Here at RB, PARCC was piloted with sophomores.

PARCC is based off of the new Common Core curriculum, a nationally shared curriculum of which Illinois is a part.  PARCC is designed to test how well teachers have been teaching the Common Core curriculum.

The PARCC web site states, “The PARCC assessment is based on the core belief that assessment should work as a tool for enhancing learning.  Because the assessments are closely aligned with the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards (CCSS), they ensure that every child is on a path to college and career readiness by measuring what students should know at each grade level. They also provide parents and teachers with timely information to identify students who may be falling behind and need extra help, as well as students who are excelling and are ready for additional challenges.” 

Testing 406 students from English 10 classes and about 414 students from Geometry classes total, the PARCC test was distributed at RB during the school day with each test lasting about 60-90 minutes. Students were excused from classes, but had to go back once they were done. 

“The administration decided to test the Geometry and English 10 students so tha,t as the PARCC testing moves forward in the future, we could test those same students next school year in order to track their progress,” Testing Coordinator Kevin Baldus said. 

Baldus is the administrator of the PARCC tests here at RB. He has had to get up to speed with all of the new in’s and out’s of the PARCC test, from how long they last to when students are allowed to leave the testing rooms.

“When students completed the last testing session and have approved their answers for submission they were allowed to return to their regularly scheduled class,” Baldus said. This differs heavily from the strict “nobody-leaves-until-everyone-is-finished” with which most students are familiar during standardized testing.

PARCC will take place in two different rounds of testing.  The first round took place in early April, and the second round will be held on April 27 for Geometry and April 28 for English 10.

The next round will also have some changes to fix problems teachers had with their students missing so much class time. 

“[There will be] a change in the total amount of days being tested, and the location of the East Gym will be added to use Chromebooks to test more students in order to reduce the amount of time students miss their regular scheduled class time,” Baldus said. 

All in all, the PARCC tests are new to RB, and still in trial mode.

“When you conduct something new for the first time there will be issues that need to be addressed.  Those issues were corrected and we completed testing in the scheduled time that was planned for PARCC.  All students were tested and those answers were submitted to PARCC to be scored,” Baldus said.