As we turned the calendars to March, our next season is quickly coming upon us. But, the warmer weather and the sunny days of Spring take a back seat to the real season about to unfold... TESTING SEASON! After a brutal winter, citizens look forward to opening their windows and doors to let in the fresh air and hear the birds singing. This year will be different though. Fresh air is being replaced with the stagnant air that happens while sitting and taking test after test after test, and all that is heard is the clickity-clack of computer keyboards, the sound of #2 pencil lead filling in test bubbles, and the frustration of students who await the next round of tests. (Allegedly, some of which are said to be meaningless.)
For public schools in Illinois, students will take the PARCC Test for the first time this month. Allegedly a low stakes test. (Read: meaningless) This session is comprised of five days of testing for the first round. Then in April, students take the NWEA Test, the test that currently counts for all things important in the grade school system. After this, can the students breathe a sigh of relief? No! Round Two of PARCC testing arrives in May. (Allegedly still low stakes, allegedly still meaningless.)
I took the PARCC practice test at home and all I can say is I am glad I went to school when I did. If anyone is feeling "in the mood" to see what is going on today with Common Core and PARCC, just click this link http://parcc.pearson.com/practice-tests/ I'd love to hear what you think about this low stakes (meaningless?) test. No wonder so many states reversed their decision about giving this test.
In related news...
CPS announced that it will be extending the school year until June 19th for the students because of the days CPS closed for inclement weather this winter. According to CPS they value highly the instructional time in the classroom and they want students to receive their full education. It's amazing how a couple of days off for bad weather can be detrimental to the students' education, but taking standardized test after test after test for weeks at a time over a period of a few months has no negative affects.