In a ruling from the New Jersey state court, the PARCC test has been outlawed as a requirement for graduation statewide.
The PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a standardized test students have historically been required to pass in order to graduate in New Jersey. It was administered across multiple grade levels and meant to test basic skill development and application. However, the PARCC being given multiple times to students is in violation of a state law that forbids testing across multiple years as a graduation requirement.
The law states that graduation requirements can only allow for a single test in grade 11 that grades aptitude in English language arts and mathematics.
State Graduation Requirements May Be Affected
New Jersey is one of 12 remaining states that still require an aptitude test to qualify for graduation from high school. With the PARCC being newly made illegal, this leaves many wondering how New Jersey school districts can fulfill the testing graduation requirement for students.
One option comes in the form of legislation proposed by Assemblywoman Jasey and Senator Gill a few years ago designed to do away with graduation testing requirements altogether. This legislation would allow New Jersey to join the other 38 states that no longer require testing for graduation. The state would then also no longer have to fill the void left behind with PARCC's outlawing.
Controversy Surrounding the Effectiveness of PARCC
PARCC has come under fire in the past for drawing an excessive amount of time away from learning in the classroom, forcing teachers to dedicate time to exam preparation that could better have been spent helping students with the curriculum. New Jersey Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet seeks to reduce the amount of time students spend taking tests by 25 percent and reduce the impact testing scores have on teacher evaluations.
With PARCC gone, teachers will be able to focus more on projects, individualized teaching methods and other educational tools to connect with students. Rather than "teaching the test," teachers will be able to focus more on the New Jersey curriculum guidelines set for each grade level by the state.
It isn't immediately clear what plans the state will adopt going forward from the PARCC ruling. However, the move is made in an effort to keep up with modern research on the effectiveness of testing and other teaching methods.
The judge has suspended the ruling for 30 days so the state can file an appeal.