What you need to know about PARCC

In this photo taken Feb. 12, 2015, practice test books sit on a table in the Sixth grade English Language Arts and Social Studies classroom at Morgan Elementary School South in Stockport, Ohio. On Tuesday, Ohio becomes the first state to administer one of two tests in English language arts and math based on the Common Core standards developed by two separate groups of states. By the end of the year, about 12 million children in 28 states and the District of Columbia will take exams that are expected to be harder than traditional spring standardized state tests they replace. In some states, they'll require hours of additional testing time students will have to do more than just fill in the bubble. The goal is to test students on critical thinking skills, requiring them to describe their reasoning and solve problems. (AP Photo/Ty Wright)
In this photo taken Feb. 12, 2015, practice test books sit on a table. (AP Photo/Ty Wright)

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – New Mexico schools are preparing to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test, known as PARCC. However, opposition to the test is growing as some parents have opted out of the test and hundreds of students are protesting.

What is PARCC?

The PARCC assessment is an annual critical thinking assessment for students. It covers math, english and language arts. The purpose is to measure how much students are learning and if they are prepared for life after high school.

Who will take the test?

New Mexico public school students in grades 3 through 11 are required to take the PARCC Test.

How is the PARCC assessment taken?

The PARCC test is a computer based assessment. Students in grades 3 through 11 will take the test online.

When is the test taken?

The test will be administered sometime between March 2 and March 27. There will also be an end of the year PARCC test between April 13 and May 8.

How can my student prepare for the test?

PARCC offers practice tests for grades 3 through 11. They also offer tutorials and sample items.

Why are people opposed to the test?

A lot of parents and students have a problem with the PARCC assessment. Some parents are opting out, saying their kids don’t need to take the test and hundreds of students are protesting. They say the test has nothing to do with the students and everything to do with teacher pay raises, principal pay raises and the school’s letter grade.

Some are also questioning whether there is a conflict of interest because New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera serves on the PARCC Governing Board.

Why is the test beneficial?

According to PARCC’s website, the test measures real world skills that colleges value, like critical thinking and problem solving.

Can you opt out?

The law does not provide for opting out of the state assessment, so schools may respond differently to a parent’s request to refuse testing. According to the Public Education Department, all students attending school must be provided instruction, but how your child’s school handles this requirement if you refuse testing for your child is a local decision and will likely vary from school to school.

What happens if my child opts out?

Based on federal law, all schools are required to assess at least 95 percent of their students using the statewide assessment. PED says if a school does not meet the 95 percent requirement, their A through F school letter grade will be reduced by one grade (for example, a school with a grade of B would automatically receive a grade of C). Refusing to have your student participate in the statewide assessment may impact your school’s overall grade.

If New Mexico as a state does not meet the federal requirement of 95 percent participation for all students, there is a risk that the state may lose federal funding for public education.

Sources: APS, PARCC Online, NMPED, NM Common Core


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