Juniors to take PARCC exam

Sydney Czyzon, Features Editor

In March and April of this school year, junior students will be taking part in the ACT as well as the PARCC exam. Photo courtesy of www.parcconline.org.

This upcoming spring, junior students will be expected to partake in the newly-introduced PARCC exam, as well as the traditional ACT assessment. The PARCC exam will be implemented this year in hopes that it will eventually replace the ACT altogether; however, this year’s junior class is forced to take on both time-consuming tests over the course of two months.

The PARCC exam, which stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, will be distributed among grades three through 11 annually. The states that make up those participating in the PARCC test include thirteen of the most educationally successful states in the country, with Illinois making the prominent list.

On the official website for the PARCC assessment, their goal is explained clearly: “These states came together through a shared commitment to develop a new way of testing – far more rigorous than in the past, far more engaging for students and far better suited to measuring student understanding, reasoning and ability to apply concepts.” In other words, this test is expected to be more difficult and open-ended than the ACT has been.

Mrs. Von Holst, English 3 teacher, explained, “In terms of the PARCC replacing the ACT, eventually the state tests will only be the PARCC exams. However, that doesn’t mean that colleges will stop requiring the ACT so more than likely students will have to pay to take the ACT and sign up on their own, just like other states.” Additionally, she detailed, “There will be a component of reading comprehension and also writing. The question types, though, might be unfamiliar to students without any practice. The PARCC also asks students to compare texts, which the ACT does not.”

Junior students should expect to be administered practice PARCC tests in their English classes during this school year, as some English teachers have apparently gathered several practice PARCC questions that will be handed out to students.

The test consists of Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy portions, leaving out any kind of science examination. Similar to the ACT, the PARCC exam aims to accurately uncover areas in which students require additional help; by doing this, students can be introduced to classes and teachers who will conform to their needs and aid them in their journey towards graduation.

Furthermore, PARCC is designed around the common core curriculum that has already been adopted by 43 states. Officially called the Common Core State Standards, the innovative English/language arts and math curriculum is made for kindergarten through twelfth grade pupils. The purpose of the common core program is to ensure that adolescents everywhere are receiving an equal – yet challenging – quality of education. The curriculum is expected to properly prepare all students for college and workforce expectations.