PARCC era begins
Last week at Kings, students and teachers saw the official kickoff of a new era in education. One marked by lots of testing, and not a little controversy.
Sophomores and freshmen both spent as many as 13 hours taking state-mandated standardized tests. Sophomores took a different Ohio Graduation test every day — officially ending the OGT era.
Meanwhile, freshmen took PARCC tests. They are the first generation of students to take the PARCC, but likely not the last.
INSIDE: “I did not want my child to be a guinea pig in an untested, billion-dollar testing scheme …”
For students in either grade, high stakes tests can cause tensions to run high.
But what what is the difference between OGT and PARCC? How will the experience of this year’s — and future — freshmen — differ from their predecessors who took the OGT?
Tenth-grade English teacher Jonathan Bitzer is new to Kings this year, having formally taught at Goshen. Bitzer is one of few teachers at Kings who has experience preparing students for both the PARCC and the OGT.
According to Bitzer, there are many differences between the two tests, including question style, and scoring.
“OGT tests require students to come up with the “right” answer, while PARCC requires that students find the “right” answer and then provide evidence to support it,” he said.
Bitzer acknowledged that, between the two test, PARCC is more difficult to prepare students for than the OGT.
“The PARCC test has been harder,” he said. “Teachers got very good at cracking the OGT ‘code’ by figuring out, through repeated years of preparation, exactly what the test was looking for and what kind of material would appear on the test,” he said.
Politically, the PARCC has also been difficult. A growing movement against the tests has spread across the country, with parents pulling their children out of the tests. Published reports show that approximately 40 families in the Kings district opted their kids out of the PARCC this year.
Dirk Doebereiner, father of freshman Dane Doebereiner, is one of those parents. He said he feels very strongly about the way PARCC has evolved.
“I did not want my child to be a guinea pig in an untested, billion-dollar testing scheme,” he said,
According to Doebereiner, the exemption process was simple and only consisted of one form. His son, along with all other students who opted out of the test, will not be penalized in any way.
Doebereiner has spoken with numerous parents and educators regarding the PARCC and Common Core. The question is, will it stay?
“Our local schools and teachers have always been the ones who have focused on tailoring education to each student, something PARCC/Common Core totally abandon,” he said.