Q & A: PARCC Assessment 101 with Principal Bishop

With the first round of PARCC testing completed and the second round just around the corner, Principal Bishop answers questions.

WW: Are students able to opt out of PARCC testing?

 PB: Opting out of state mandated assessments is not allowed. There is specific state legislation that requires students and parents to participate in this educational activity. The following is taken from the letter we send to parents that refuse to take the PARCC:

” State statute require that all students enrolled in a public school to take Colorado’s statewide assessments (Section 22-7-409 (1.2). Student scores will be included on each student’s transcript per C.R.S. 22-7-409 (1.9) requiring results of the CMAS and PARCC scores be included as part of the student’s permanent academic record.  Student refusal to participate in PARCC testing may cause Arvada West’s School Performance Framework to be reduced as well as a possible reduction in funding in the coming years by the state.”

WW: Is  PARCC testing somewhat similar to TCAP or CSAP? 

PB: It is similar in that it is meeting the requirement of federal and state mandates that we conduct standards assessments to measure student achievement in literacy and math. The format and content of the PARCC is very different than CSAP.

WW: Why do students have to take the PARCC test?

PB: See above. The assessment of student achievement and the expectation to monitor student progress toward state academic standards is called out in the No Child Left Behind Act and the Colorado Educational Assessment Act. So by law, we are required to administer the PARCC. Additionally, and most importantly, the data from PARCC does help us evaluate curriculum, conduct further research on our teaching practice, and set goals and develop strategies to meet an array of student needs.

WW: Does it affect students if they choose to not take the test?

PB: It affects them in that we do not have the data set to measure their progress and achievement. Often, students who are not on grade level or are demonstrating growth can be identified and/or monitored through these assessments and then give teachers and administrators needed information to respond to meet individual student needs.

WW: What does PARCC do for students?

 PB: PARCC informs students of how they are progressing toward the attainment of academic standards and how they might measure against other students throughout Colorado. Also see the previous question.

WW: Are there pros to having to do the PARCC testing?

 PB:  All of the above…the data attained will inform us of a variety of aspects of student progress toward academic standards and academic growth. 

WW: Are student’s score results put onto their transcripts for potential colleges to look at?

PB: Scores will go on the transcript. This is in fulfillment of the Colorado Education Assessment Act (see above quote) which requires school districts to keep official records of student performance on these standardized assessments. It is not likely that colleges consider these scores, as they are primarily concerned with GPA, ACT scores (also on the transcript) and rigor of the courses taken during high school.