D202 Board may seek relief from Springfield on testing

The Evanston Township High School District 202 Board is considering asking lawmakers in Springfield to release them from administering the PARCC testing for its students.

PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Assistant Superintendent Peter Bavis made the point at Monday night’s District 202 board meeting that the test is of limited value to the school and its students.

First of all, PARCC is not a national standardized test, because so few states are administering it. In fact, Bavis said, the initial commitment of 23 states is now down to only 12.

Consequently, it is unlikely to be used for college admissions. While the ACT is a more-accepted test for college use, the state has moved the date for administering the ACT test back about a month to early March, which is likely to result in lower scores for students.

This will have a negative effect for students on college admissions as well as applications for tuition funding, Bavis conjectured.

Also, Bavis said, the logistics of administering both the English and math assessments are not clear.

Moreover, high schools do not know what PARCC tests will be administered in future years, making it unlikely that schools could measure students ” longitudinally” in high school to determine the extent of student growth from year to year.

Bavis and Superintendent Eric Witherspoon are both active in organizations of their counterparts in other Illinois school districts, and they said there is widespread discontent among other high school administrators over the test.

Board member Mark Metz asked what the consequences would be if the district refused to give the PARCC test, as it appears to have so little value to the students and would, in fact, be disruptive to their studies because it takes four days out of their school year to administer.

Principal Marcus Campbell and Superintendent Witherspoon said that such an action could risk sanctions from the state, such as pulling the accreditation of its teachers.

Accordingly, a consensus developed on the part of the board to communicate with elected state representatives to seek legislative relief from the requirement to administer the tests.

 

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