Governor Hogan replaces PARCC test


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Governor Hogan changed standardized testing for the next academic school year.

By fall 2019, Maryland will replace the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and careers (PARCC) with a new standardized test called the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP).

PARCC had been administered at Montgomery County Public Schools since 2015. This aptitude test measured both English and Mathematics skills in students from 3rd to 10th grade. For the past four years WJ has administered both the Algebra 1 PARCC and the English 10 PARCC during the last week of May along with senior exams and HSA exams.

The tests are supposed to help teachers and parents determine if students are acquiring the knowledge and skills they need as they advance in their academic career.

Recently, Governor Hogan decided to get rid of the PARCC test and replace it with a new standardized test called the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP).

The PARCC test was problematic for many reasons: it took between two to three schools days to complete which disrupted students’ learning in their regular classes, more than half of Maryland students did not pass and the test was not conducive to the Maryland curriculum.

“This test is supposed to be created by Maryland educators and not an outside company. The idea is that [Maryland educators] are more familiar with what students are learning and what they should be tested on,” 9th grade administrator Vernitta Tucker said.

Many states across the country have taken the initiative to create their own assessments rather than following nationwide given exams, like the PARCC. The hope is that a state specific test will boost up scores for students.

The MCAP will be online and will mimic the MAP tests and be computer adaptive. The difficulty of the questions will get progressively more challenging as each student answers more questions correctly.

Some students agree with this change to move to the MCAP because it will be more cohesive with the Common Core curriculum.

“The PARCC test doesn’t really line up with what we have been learning in class so we have to take up time in class to learn extra stuff that’s just on this test,” freshman Sam Ruder said.

This transition brings up the question of if standardized tests should still be administered to students.

While some think that schools should eliminate standardized tests because of biases and difficulties, a lot of students are concerned as to if they will be prepared for higher education with the lack of testing practice.

“I think we should keep standardized tests because they are helpful for retention of information we learned in the course and they help for college,” senior Julianne Okim said.

Students will still take the English 10 and Algebra exams this spring, but that will be the last time the PARCC will be administered in Maryland.