NJ schools scrapping midterms, finals for PARCC
Parents, students and teachers have not been shy about their frustrations regarding the latest standardized testing, scheduled to launch in March, and now high schools across the state are making sacrifices in order to fit the new exams into their calendars.
Jim Crisfield, superintendent of schools in Millburn Township, said his district's high school is scrapping finals towards the end of the year to make room for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a computer-based exam targeting students in third-grade to 11th- grade.
"There's been an injection of state-required testing time into the schedule," Crisfield said. "We looked for ways to regain balance in the equation of assessments versus instruction."
The test is scheduled to be administered twice, once in March and once in May. Crisfield noted it's nearly double the work for his high school seniors, and a brand new world of testing for freshmen and sophomores.
"We didn't also eliminate midterms. I know some districts have done that," Crisfield said.
According to Pat Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, there have been some growing pains associated with the PARCC, and districts are making adjustments in order to ensure the highest quality of instruction.
"Assessment's never going away. We just have to find that balance," Wright said.
Dozens of people spoke out against the PARCC during an open forum on Jan. 7, including parents who said their kids will skip the exam.
Crisfield said he's been told by the state Department of Education that the PARCC is not optional, but it's up to each district how they choose to deal with individual cases.