Illustration by: Madison Krell.
It was no walk in the PARCC, but now it’s over.
The 2014-2015 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests have been removed across Ohio, changing the face of Common Core testing.
In the Spring of 2015, Mason was introduced to a new state test set to replace the Ohio Graduation Test. The online assessment called for students to take End of Course Exams in English, Math, and Physical Science.
After the conclusion of the school year, talks about replacing PARCC as the state test arose. Dr. Heather Sass, Chief Academic Officer of Mason City Schools said with the signing of the state’s budget bill came the removal of the tests.
“Because of the law that was passed in June, Ohio is now no longer apart of that partnership (with PARCC),” Sass said. “That left us with English and Mathematics testing needed, so we sought out the American Institutes of Research (AIR) to facilitate the development of our own test.”
The majority of PARCC testing was done online, quickly making issues with technology evident. According to Sass, PARCC was deemed unfit for state testing after schools expressed concerns with technology and the amount of testing.
“PARCC had some aspects of its registration and technology platform that were very awkward and cumbersome,” Sass said. “Our legislators also listened to the fact that having a performance-based and an end-of-course part of the test made for too many testing sessions.”
The Class of 2018 in Mason will be the first class not to take the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) their sophomore year. Last year, freshman students worked towards the new graduation requirement, sitting through 12 days of 90-minute testing sessions. Initiation of the PARCC tests immediately sparked frustrations with students. According to sophomore Gabi Renshaw, the extensive testing seemed out of place due to the outdated test material.
“The tests that we took—we didn’t do any of that stuff in school that year,” Renshaw said. “It wasn’t assessing us on what we learned freshman year when we took it.”
With the implement of AIR, improvements from PARCC are expected to be made. According to MHS Principal, Dave Hyatt, AIR’s two 90-minute testing sessions won’t require students or teachers to miss as many classes.
“It is less intrusive; you will have less instructional time lost,” Hyatt said. “Our teachers will be able to teach more, test less, which is a good thing.”
According to Sass, many aspects of last year’s testing will remain the same; however, the new science exam will assess students on biology, not physical science.
“Last year students may have taken a physical science (exam) and that test is no longer. It’s switched completely to biology,” Sass said. “But if you took the physical science test last year (the points) will count.”
Students are set to take the tests from April 4-May 13. Sass said she is pleased with what AIR has accomplished for the state, and expects the new tests to continue to be a part of Ohio’s state tests.
“I think it has a very good chance (of staying in the long run),” Sass said. “In Ohio it’s really good for us to have tests that are targeted towards our standards by our educators, and I think that’s what AIR has accomplished for us. In that way I think AIR is a good move for us.”