Ready for a nine-hour standardized test?


Afia Jones, News Writer

The Illinois School Board of Education has decided to replace the PSAE and the ISAT with the a new test called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers that will take one to two months to take and  require more than 9.5 hours of testing time.

While this will be a new test for all Illinois schools, Assessment Chair David Kush says he is confident students will perform well, like they have for the ACT.

“The results I am never worried about,” Kush said. “I know that the H-F students will perform better than most students in Illinois.”

Unlike the ACT, the PARCC test scores will not be seen by colleges, so there is a concern that students will not remain motivated during the rigorous exam.

“The students who are internally motivated are going to do the best,” Kush said.

PARCC measures how well schools teach the Common Core standards, a relatively new and more challenging set of educational standards.  There are still some concerns about how the government will use the data and whether or not kids have an incentive to work their hardest on PARCC.

“The state wants to use [PARCC] to measure students, teachers and schools,” Kush said. “To use it to evaluate teachers would be inappropriate. Generally, I do not support using standardized exam data for teacher evaluation.”

The PARCC test will be happening between March and June, creating a heavy load of testing for students who have final exams, advanced placement tests and the ACT to worry about.

The test will consist of multiple sections that focus on subjects like math and English, and contain essays, reading passages, pictures and even videos.

It’s more intense than the average standardized test, English Department Chair Jacob Vallicelli said.

“The big thing is it’s not your typical multiple choice test,” he said. “If a kid is kind of checked out then it is not going to go well.”

Although there are questions about how the test will be run, there are some positive aspects that the test has to offer.

According to Vallicelli, the test will be a “much more real experience.”

English teacher Jason Miller calls standardized tests “necessary evils” but says he appreciates the skills PARCC evaluates.

He also says that the PARCC test is challenging but will be beneficial to students and staff.

“It’s going to be tough to take the test,” he said. “However, it will challenge students in a way major professional adults need to be challenged.”

Although staff members see the obstacles that the PARCC test will bring, Junior Kenneth Bivens is focusing on the stress students will feel while taking the test.

“The school year is very busy,” he said. “I have seven other classes to worry about and extracurricular activities.”

Bivens also says that even the placement for the test during the spring of next year is not the right time for students.

“That’s really bad,” he said. “People have a lot of studying to do and don’t have time to de-stress.”