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Local Editorials

Editorial: High school PARCC exam won’t be missed

Educators have shed few tears over the State Board of Education’s decision to drop the unpopular PARCC text from high schools statewide. PARCC’s replacement must focus on better preparing students for their futures.

Students being giddy about not having to take a test?

We fully understand the feeling.

Educators being giddy about not having to administer a test?

That’s a fairly new one for us.

But that was the general feeling among area school administrators upon hearing the news last week that the Illinois State Board of Education had dropped the unpopular PARCC exam for high schoolers.

PARCC, which stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, was described as a “nightmare to administer” that had no bearing on college entrance.

High schoolers therefore were less likely to take the testing process seriously, and it showed.

The first round of PARCC test results, released in December an astounding half year after the exams were administered, showed that only one-third of students statewide met or exceeded expectations, while two-thirds didn’t.

Ouch!

Many area school districts scored below the state average, and educators decried the exam as having minimal value for high school students.

Grade-schoolers will still take the PARCC, but high schoolers will now take the SAT exam, as decreed by the State Board of Education.

The SAT exam has been around for a long time. Students will be able to send their scores to college admissions offices, so they will be much more motivated to do their best.

That’s good.

We still believe the goal of the PARCC exam – to satisfactorily assess career and college preparedness – is laudable.

We wrote in a December editorial, “If PARCC doesn’t exactly hit the mark, educators, parents and students shouldn’t discount what it is trying to do – help produce students who are better prepared for their futures.”

However, the test’s inaugural year – especially the 191-day gap before scores were available – left much to be desired.

We’re reminded of the story about the stressed-out baseball manager who, tired of his inept team’s losing ways, was asked what he thought about his team’s execution. “I’m in favor of it,” he replied.

Illinois educators, frustrated with PARCC, applaud its “execution” – the high school version, at least – and look forward to better results through the SAT. We hope they’re right.

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