PARCC Pandemonium

Samantha Zakrzewski, Writer/Editor

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The PARCC- just the mere thought of this test elicits a whole wave of agony and annoyance in many students. Sitting in a random classroom with students that you’ve never seen before only makes the day drag for both students and teachers, who serve as proctors. Not to mention, staring at a tiny screen for three hours puts a heavy strain on your eyes. Upon completing the test, students are tired from either sleeping or exhausting their brains. There appears to be a common hatred towards the PARCC amongst many teachers, parents, and students. To our benefit, Governor Murphy seems to be in agreement as he has promised to remove the PARCC.

But before you start cheering for joy over this seemingly good news, understand that with the removal of the PARCC comes a lot of chaos.

The Department of Education for New Jersey cannot simply just remove the PARCC. They would need to replace it with another exam that students are required to pass in order to graduate.

This seemingly minor problem is far more complex than it appears. Seniors graduating this year (2019) who have yet to pass the PARCC are stuck waiting to see if the PARCC is a graduation requirement. As of right now, it seems that the state will leave the PARCC in place for 2019 and 2020, until they are able to create another test that students are required to pass to graduate.

For those who are fortunate enough to not have taken this dreadful exam, they may be wondering- what exactly is wrong with the PARCC?

All the PARCC does is take precious time away from teachers. They are forced to alter the curriculum to make room for the PARCC inspired lessons. As a result, students suffer as they aren’t learning the materials that they need to know. Not only that, but many teachers are unsure of what to teach as the PARCC is extremely vague.

The PARCC also contradicts itself. It requires students in 11th grade to pass one test in math and one in language arts. Yet, students have been forced to take this test in multiple grade levels. If you only need to pass it once, then why are students being forced to take this test every year? Also, students who opted out of this exam were later told by schools, who claimed that the state wasn’t clear on the rules, that they must make it up. Clearly, there are many misunderstandings regarding the PARCC.

The test itself is a disaster. For starters, having to take a three hour test on a Chromebook with a tiny screen isn’t exactly ideal. An hour into the test and my vision was starting to blur as I had been staring at the screen for too long. As for the test itself, the questions are extremely vague and the answer choices are all basically the same thing but worded differently. Although I actually tried to answer the questions to the best of my abilities, I found myself guessing for a lot them.

These state required tests are a complete waste of time as students do not even take them seriously. Many students just click through the test, guessing for all of their answers. This just further proves that the PARCC is a waste of time and resources. Rather than focusing on studying for their classes or SAT/ACT tests, students waste time on this state mandated test. If a student excels in their honors and advanced placement courses, there is no need for them to take a PARCC exam. They have already proven that they are beyond ready to graduate as they can think on higher levels and understand the challenging material.

Not only that, but the amount of time alloted for each section of the test is absurd. Even if a student takes their time on each question, they do not need all of the time that the PARCC gives. I, along with many of my peers, found myself finishing the test well before the session ended. Not allowed to bring a book or anything that would pass the time, I was forced to sit at my desk and stare at the chalkboard for well over a half hour. By time the test ended, I was so drowsy that I was unable to focus in my classes. All of this time that is wasted could be used to do far more important things, such as learning.  

Yet, it’s understandable to have a test in place for those students barely passing their classes. Tests like the PARCC would be great for them to have the opportunity to prove that they are ready to graduate. However, they shouldn’t force all students to suffer through this tedious exam. After all, the PARCC wastes so much precious time and many students do not even take it seriously.