Teacher Comics: PARCC, Day Three



After the testing, I went down and checked with the nurse. Dan had gone home because his test anxiety was so bad… and the nurse told me that she had quite a few cases similar over the first week of PARCC.

7 Responses to “Teacher Comics: PARCC, Day Three”

  1. luticia minter Says:

    Chris, the same thing happened to my husband. It is just not worth it.

  2. Z. Cates Says:

    It will be most stressful with the first few years of students who are used to the much easier assessments. I do think the PARCC is a lot more valuable, though. It actually tests needed skills and knowledge, rather than just rote knowledge alone.

    It is very difficult, however, and I know that is very scary for both students and the teachers. I think we as teachers have to be careful though. I was teaching in a school last year that was piloting the test and I saw many teachers, with nothing but honest concern for their students, talking about how their kids just weren’t up to the task; they were convinced it was too difficult for them. The general consensus was that we were building the airplane while in free-fall. I think the pressure of having to learn a brand new test AND having to prepare the students for it on the fly had the unfortunate side effect of making some teachers lose confidence in their students’ abilities to rise to the challenge.

    Personally, I think it is a big challenge, but it is not TOO big of a challenge. I also think that the intrinsic value of the style of test is more apparent than fill-in-the-bubble style tests, and therefore it may be easier to get the kids on board and self-motivated to accept the challenge.

    But yeah, it is stressful. No doubt about it. 😦

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      I think you make points well worth considering, Z… some of which will likely become part of the comics in the next two weeks. I very much like the structure of the ELA test, with its’ two part multiple choice format.

      I also agree that there are some teachers who aren’t stressing the importance of the test in the right way. I actually have a comic about that exact topic tomorrow. I believe students have been forced to create a strange test-taking culture for themselves where they’re not even sure what tests matter because they’re forced to take so many!

      What I don’t like is sending this test out into the world this year with the expectation that students are going to fall into lock step with its’ new format and delivery system. I know for a fact that our DoE has drastically underestimated both those aspects for the PARCC rollout. Critics of public schools LOVE to compare the education of our children to a business model. Putting aside that being a flawed view, there is NO WAY a big business would survive a rollout of a product done as badly as our state has rolled out PARCC.

      Hahahaha but I’m not stressed ‘bout it! Who’s stressed?!?!?! 🙂

      • Z. Cates Says:

        Oh hell, yeah! The rollout has not been good! And it’s too bad, not only because it hurts the students who are taking the tests now, but it also casts doubt on the effectiveness of the actual test, and it throws gasoline (and hay?) on the torches and pitchforks of the overeager critics who were just looking for a way to say it’s a failed system.

        And yes, there are WAY too many standardized tests. Period. And unfortunately, in my experience, the more standardized tests kids take, the more the students (and sadly sometimes teachers) start to feel like the tests are official judgements on their character as people, not just measures of what they’ve taken in so far. That’s one thing I place a very high priority on, myself. Making sure students know that test scores do NOT define them, they should ideally HELP them understand their own learning better!

      • Christopher Pearce Says:

        Like I mentioned Z, I’m planning on making some of the points you’re making here in some future comics. You’re 100% right: a bad rollout does not mean this test is junk… it just means we collectively (teachers, admin, higher ups in the DoE) need to do much better.

        I think a streamlining of the process is the first step. I think a second step is putting more emphasis on basic technological skills so kids are in a position to operate the test – I’ve done comics this year about how my students have next to no practical typing skills, but you’d be surprised at how many kids didn’t have basic website interface skills, like “dragging and dropping” answers across the screen. Obviously, working in an inner-city school is perhaps an extreme case… but the playing field should be leveled some ways.

        I’m going to come right out and say, I don’t believe the scores on the PARCC this year are going to be massively flawed. I’m hopeful that people above my pay grade will recognize that Rome was not built in a day and use these scores as a jumping-off point for improving the test and its delivery.

  3. There is absolutely, positively no such word as its’. Sorry. Hope you’re not an English teacher. Also hope your kids don’t see this.

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      Anne, you’re a gem. What a sweet person you are to point out a person’s mistake in such a nice way! I hope you are an English teacher and that all your kids see this so they know you’re out there fighting the good fight in a friendly, constructive way! You have my thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: