The Dreaded PARCC Test is On the Way Out in NJ
Gov. Murphy has started phasing out the controversial PARCC test.
During a visit to Atlantic City on Tuesday, Murphy confirmed the number of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests required for graduation from high school in New Jersey will be reduced from six to two during the upcoming school year.
He said only the Algebra 1 and English Language Arts tests will continue to be administered.
“The department will reduce by 25 percent the length of assessments across all grades," he said. "This will return to students and educators valuable time that should be spent learning as opposed to testing.”
Students, parents and teachers have been unhappy about PARCC ever since it was rolled out in 2015, complaining it was too long, poorly constructed and hard to understand.
Murphy said the changes being made were the result of feedback collected during a three-month tour of New Jersey by Department of Education officials who held dozens of in-person and online sessions and webinars with thousands of students, teachers, school administrators, education advocates and community leaders.
Murphy said the state Board of Education will be asked to maintain “the multiple pathways currently available for students who do not achieve a passing score on their assessments, to show proficiency, and that includes the SAT. This will also lead to new partnerships and tools to help educators better use existing data.”
The state board will also be asked to allow first-year English learners to substitute a department-approved English language proficiency test for the statewide PARCC assessment.
The state also “will begin the process of reducing the impact of PARCC results on teacher and principal evaluations," Murphy said. "More on this will be announced in the coming months.”
“As a father of four, I believe in student assessments as one important way to gauge growth, but we need a new system that allows for faster feedback to educators, to students and families.”
He pointed out good educators and good students can have bad test days.
“PARCC’s high-stakes, high-stress system has been, I believe, a detriment to our students and educators. Our educators need to teach to the needs of their students and not to a standardized test.”
When asked why he wasn’t just scrapping PARCC completely, Murphy said that “by making the transition in phases we can ensure a smooth implementation in schools across the state and at the same time maintain compliance with current state and federal requirements.
“I want to make sure we get to where we want to get to in the right.”