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Susan Ohanian.org: Parents and Teachers Take Standardized Practice Test to Better Understand What Students are Facing

All teachers who administer the test are asked to sign a form written by the Public Education Department that says they promise not to disparage the PARCC testing in any way.

Reader Comment: On the PARCC New Mexico website, it says "The PARCC assessment measures real world skills that colleges value, like critical thinking and problem solving. New Mexico's college and universities will use those assessments as one of the indicators of a student's readiness for entry-level college courses." Baloney. There is no evidence to support this claim. HS seniors need only to show ACT and/or SAT scores, their GPA and their extracurricular activities to gain entrance into college and apply for scholarships!

Reader Comment: How is this a valid measurement of our primary Spanish speaking students' abilities? I took the 3rd grade math assessment and one of the questions repeated a two step direction twice, but in different words. I still don't know if the question was measuring fractions, the performance of sequential directions, reading or motor planning. With my large screen, I still had to scroll up and down to see the directions and work the problem that included multiple drag/drop and mouse clicking.

 

By: Stephanie Claytor

There is a lot of controversy surrounding standardized tests that all New Mexico public school kids take.

On Saturday, some parents and teachers gathered at the Los Duranes Community Center in Albuquerque to try the practice tests. They wanted to get a firsthand look at what our students are facing.

This year, New Mexican students in grades third through eleventh, will have to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or PARCC. They'll have to take it in March and April. This test is different from previous standardized tests because it's digital and only offered in English.

The parents and teachers at the meeting found the exam troubling.

"I don't think that I could pass that test, despite the fact that I have taught for two decades," said David Wilson, a bilingual interventionist for Albuquerque Public Schools.

"There's drag and drop, there's drop down menus. Navigating this on a computer screen is a lot to ask a nine year old to do," said Sarah McKinney, a parent of young children and a former teacher.

A Montezuma Elementary School teacher started crying after finishing the test.

"To sit here and take this makes me feel horrible. I feel like I'm not good enough. I don't want to give it to my kids," said Racheal Alaimo-Monson, in her second year of teaching.

In many cases, teachers' evaluations will be heavily based off of their students' scores. Many of the teachers who took the practice tests said they've been discouraged from talking to parents about the exams.

"All teachers who administer the test are asked to sign a form written by the Public Education Department that says they promise not to disparage the PARCC testing in anyway," Wilson said.

Albuquerque Public Schools Board Member Kathy Korte is introducing a resolution at Tuesday's board meeting, asking for a moratorium on the PARCC and end of year course exams. She's also encouraging parents of children in grades K-8 to opt their children out of taking the exam.

"I reject its use to evaluate our schools and our teachers. It’s absolutely immoral and it is a horrible waste of millions of dollars that we could be spending in more worthwhile ways," said Kathy Korte.

KOB contacted the Public Education Department; we have not heard back from them. On the PARCC New Mexico website, it says "The PARCC assessment measures real world skills that colleges value, like critical thinking and problem solving. New Mexico's college and universities will use those assessments as one of the indicators of a student's readiness for entry-level college courses."

To view the practice tests, click here

— Stephanie Claytor
KOB Eyewitness News 4
November 11, 2014
http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3629005.shtml?cat=500#.VHMYYcmaNr9

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Susan Ohanian

Susan Ohanian, a long-time public school teacher, is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Atlantic, Parents, Washington Monthly, The Nation, P...