PARCC Scores Do Not Meet MCPS Expectations

Erin Bode , Staff Writer

Only 34.3 percent of RHS students taking the English 10 PARCC exam met the intended score in the 2015-16 school year. Less than five percent met the standards in the algebra exam.
The exam given in the 2015-16 school year was not counted towards any type of graduation requirement, and math resource teacher Lindsay Junkins thinks that might have been a reason for the scores being so low.
“The students only had to participate in the exam therefore scores didn’t count towards graduation so that could have been a reason,” Junkins said.
The PARCC is a standardized test that measures student understanding of mathematics and English, and use data to design and put into place a standard set of assessments for students in grades kindergarten through 12.
Although many students think that the PARCC does nothing to contribute to their education, and may put little to no effort into it, this year a passing PARCC score has become a graduation requirement. Collected data can also help teachers see if class material is being understood.
The PARCC does not contribute to a student’s overall grade or test scores, and many students do not prepare for it like they would for other more standardized tests, which are more directly taken into account.
“I never did anything to prepare for the PARCC outside of what I may have done in class, and while I do make an effort to do the PARCC, I don’t try as hard as I would if it were a test that actually affected my grade,” sophomore Katie Loebach said.
Students’ lowered preparation and effort on the PARCC assessment makes it harder to get an accurate representation of what students actually know, according to Assistant Principal Elizabeth Sandall.
Some students feel they are not given enough information about the impact of the assessment, which may factor into student participation.
“I don’t really think [PARCC] helps students in any way, since it was just required and we didn’t always know what to study,” junior Sion Deganus said.
The assessment is based on the Common Core Standard, which is an educational initiative that tests whether students fully understand the curriculum of math and English classes taught through grades K-12. In grades K-8, tests are given at a yearly rate, and when students enter high school, tests are given on certain subjects such as Algebra 1 and English 10.
Sandall said that she wants students to excel and do well on the tests. According to Sandall, there is a positive correlation between how much time students spend interacting with the test and their scores.
“The goal of the assessment is to assess a student’s ability and knowledge,” Sandall said.
The PARCC is based on material learned in class, so when asked how students can prepare for the PARCC test, Sandall said students should study concepts that are taught in class.
Statewide, 30 percent of students met the English 10 requirements, and 33 percent met the Algebra 1 requirements. In Montgomery County, 30.3 percent of students met requirements for English 10, and 40.9 percent for Algebra 1.