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PARCC updates at BRHS & throughout the state of NJ

Mr.+Caprio+has+been+working+in+the+guidance+department+for+15+years.+He+is+now+supervisor+of+the+dept.+along+with+testing+coordinator.
Mr. Caprio has been working in the guidance department for 15 years. He is now supervisor of the dept. along with testing coordinator.

Mr. Caprio has been working in the guidance department for 15 years. He is now supervisor of the dept. along with testing coordinator.

Mr. Caprio has been working in the guidance department for 15 years. He is now supervisor of the dept. along with testing coordinator.

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A memo sent to Becton Regional High School on March 6 by the New Jersey Department of Education notified the school that NJ Governor Phil Murphy has fulfilled his campaign promise to end PARCC testing in 2019 and eliminate it as a requirement for graduating students; therefore, the upcoming standardized assessment will be the final PARCC exam for NJ students.

“The memo basically stated that the Dept. of Ed. was committed to fulfilling the governor’s call,” stated Mr. Caprio, Becton Regional High School’s testing coordinator and Supervisor of Guidance.

For 2018, however, the test will continue to be administered as planned. A recent letter that has been mailed home by Principal Dr. Sforza stated that testing dates at Becton Regional High School for the English Language Arts/Literacy sections are April 24 and April 25 and for the Mathematics portion of the test, May 1 and 2.

The letter sent home to parents/guardians stresses that fully charged Chromebooks are needed in order to take the test.

Contrary to last year, the standardized test will last approximately four days compared to over a span of three days. Students will be testing from 8:05 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. on April 24 and May 1 and 8:05 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. on April 25 and May 2. The remainder of the day will operate on a delayed opening schedule, allowing Becton students to still meet with their regular classes. Seniors not participating in PARCC testing will also operate on a delayed opening schedule and will be expected to arrive to school for a 10:45 a.m. start on April 24 and May 1 and a 10:05 a.m. start on April 25 and May 2.

“We decided that we did not want instruction to be interrupted as much as it was during previous years; therefore, even though testing will take place over four days, students will still meet with all of their courses,” stated the testing coordinator.

Mr. Caprio continued to stress that students will need to bring their Chromebooks this year and must remember to fully charge them. In addition to a Chromebook, they are encouraged to bring a set of headphones and a calculator.

An updated bus schedule on testing days was sent home to parents/guardians.

The PARCC assessment was first introduced in 2010 with 24 states participating, but that number quickly shrank as more states decided to withdraw and create their own standardized test. New Jersey is one of just a few states left that still enforces the test.

“Good teachers and good students can have bad test days. Too much emphasis is being put on a single test, as opposed to weighing a student’s progress through years of instruction,” stated Governor Murphy during his political campaign.

“PARCC is a big drain on resources, and it doesn’t correlate to success on the SAT and/or ACT. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some version of the NJ HSPA come back.  It will be one test that lasts over three days and be offered only to juniors. Personally, I think the state should use the PSAT, ACT or SAT as its replacement,” stated Becton’s testing coordinator. He then went on to add, “Currently, any of those three can be used as a graduation requirement for the classes of 2018, 2019 and to some extent, 2020.  They only take up half of a day of instruction, are less intrusive on the school day and measure what colleges are looking for.”

Until a change in the graduation requirement is announced, Mr. Caprio said that the school will continue to use the system in place. Students in graduating classes 2018 and 2019 have the ability to fulfill the graduation assessment through three pathways. The Class of 2020 can show graduation assessment proficiency using the same three pathways the Class of 2018 and the Class of 2019 use, given that the students also take each year of the PARCC in high school that they are eligible for, as well as receive valid scores.

Moreover, the Class of 2021 will have to take an ELA 10 and an Algebra 1 assessment to fulfill their graduation requirement. The Class of 2021 also has the option of creating a student portfolio that is submitted by the district, provided that the individual also takes and passes the high school level PARCC tests in which they are eligible. For more information on the high school assessment requirements, one can visit http://www.state.nj.us/education/assessment/parents/GradReq.pdf.

Governor Murphy’s ultimate plan is for the Department of Education and teachers to work together with others to help create a test that fulfills federal requirements but is not as “high stakes.” The controversy around PARCC testing between students, teachers and parents was a key factor in New Jersey withdrawing from the assessment. One of the major concerns regarding teachers was that the students ‘opting out’ would affect their overall teacher evaluation.

Mr. Caprio commented, “Standardized testing gives us a good idea of how our students are doing compared to other students locally and across the country. However, it does have problems. It only measures a student on one particular day and does not take into account external factors.” He added that it takes a lot of time out of teaching for educators to prepare students for the test. “Administering the test alone can take a few weeks.”

Acting Education Commissioner as of Jan. 29, Dr. Lamont Repollet, reported that the current graduation requirements will still be in place until further notice. Dr. Repollet also noted that the transition from PARCC to an improved form of standardizing testing “will occur in a thoughtful, deliberative process.”

In regard to the TestNav program that is currently installed on each of the Becton Chromebooks, “It will most likely no longer be needed,” stated Mr. Caprio.

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The student news site of Henry P. Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford, New Jersey
PARCC updates at BRHS & throughout the state of NJ