Rotten to the Core

Every school year is marked by three very significant factors: early waking, grades, and standardized testing. The last of the three has continually proven to be the worst, haunting students from kindergarten all the way to high school during their second semester. The satisfaction of finishing a standardized exam, of finally putting down the pencil and stretching back in the seat you’ve been sitting in for four hours straight, is satisfaction of an unimaginable kind.

Yet, the implementation of the PARCC in the 2014-2015 year will surely make it harder for students to reach the post-testing bliss. Introduced by Common Core standards, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, aka the PARCC, is the new substitute for standardized testing in 46 states and counting. There go the HSPA and NJASK out the window – the PARCC is here to become the new nightmare of kids and teenagers across the country.

To begin with, the PARCC has not been tested beforehand. How are we supposed to trust that an unproven test will be the right way to determine whether a student should pass or not? Not only that, but passing standards for the PARCC won’t be set until after students have taken it. Just goes to show how little research was put into making the test.

stressed girl

Moreover, the PARCC has to be taken online. Now, children who are just learning to use electronics must write short answers and solve math problems all on the computer. How can a seven year old suddenly be expected to type paragraphs when he/she doesn’t even know where the “a” on the keyboard is? Even for high school students who are accustomed to typing essays, being in front of a screen for multiple hours will lead to excessive eye strain – which will then lead to headaches or fatigue or both. That sounds like the perfect recipe for a disastrous performance.

Of course, students who fail can submit their SAT/ACT scores as a replacement. But, the SAT costs $52.50 and the ACT costs $54.50, prices that not everybody can afford. If the backup for the PARCC is a fee-based test, then the system screams inequality.

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In the end, the PARCC is just another example of how unjust Common Core is. It sets standards based on practically nothing and puts every student at an unfair advantage. If we take serious action against the horror that is Common Core, we could help eliminate a lot of unfairness.

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