Original story from The Denver Post ….
The new online tests arrived this week in Colorado with much consternation. The first day included a large number of students who chose not to take them.
State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, can empathize. He took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test last week. In his newsletter Monday, he reported his own problems:
Now I consider myself higher than average when it comes to math. As a farmer, on a regular basis I am calculating costs, production and profit, and quite often, loss. Problem solving with numbers is a skill required for most of us in agriculture, and most of the time we calculate our figures while sitting on a tractor or driving a truck.
So when I was taking the PARCC test, I was shocked that even though I chose the correct answers, I lost almost half my score because I didn’t “show my work” the way that PARCC requires in their grading rubrics.
I had some trouble understanding how to maneuver within the software and was told that a teacher cannot help during the testing. Hmmm … so how do the students figure this out?
It appears teachers waste valuable time teaching kids how to use the software, and then how to “show their work,” which is acceptable according to the rubrics. There is no better example of “teaching to the test” and what the students are learning during this instruction time is worthless information for their future.
When I got frustrated with a silly question I was tempted to just hit the forward arrow and skip the rest of the test. If an adult taking this test wants to skip a problem, I can only imagine what a 6th grader would do if they became annoyed. …
Sonnenberg went on to criticize how the test takes away from teaching. He emphasized that “testing is important” but prefers to let school boards, administrators and parents hold the schools accountable rather than federal authorities in Washington.