PARCC Gets Parked: What Testing Companies Don’t Want Parents to Know
Columbia University Professor Celia Oyler posted online a critique of the 4th grade English-Language Arts PARCC exam written by an anonymous fourth grade teacher. In the critique the teacher quoted from specific questions that were on the test.
Then the firestorm hit.
PARCC Inc., citing copyright law and confidentiality agreements, has been stalking the Internet and twitter to get the questions taken down. PARCC also demanded that Oyler identify the offending teacher, which she refuses to do. The teacher, in the post, makes clear that he or she was aware of the legal ramifications of these actions, but felt compelled to inform parents and the general the public how “the high-stakes accountability system has deformed teaching and warped learning in many public schools across the United States.”
Why are testing companies so anxious to keep this analysis from parents and the general public? If the anonymous teacher is correct, and I believe he or she is, testing companies do not want us to know that Common Core and its high-stakes testing regime are a disaster that do a grave disservice to this nation’s children.
As of May 26, 2016 the full posting by Olyer was available on the blogsite of New York Public School Parents which is managed by educational activist Leonie Haimson. Haimson urged education bloggers to distribute the report widely.However, to avoid legal issues, this post reprints the teacher’s critique of the PARCC exam, but deletes the copyrighted questions and “prompts.”
The post begins:
I will not reveal my district or my role due to the intense legal ramifications for exercising my Constitutional First Amendment rights in a public forum. I was compelled to sign a security form that stated I would not be “Revealing or discussing passages or test items with anyone, including students and school staff, through verbal exchange, email, social media, or any other form of communication” as this would be considered a “Security Breach.” In response to this demand, I can only ask—whom are we protecting?There are layers of not-so-subtle issues that need to be aired as a result of national and state testing policies that are dominating children’s lives in America. As any well prepared educator knows, curriculum planning and teaching requires knowing how you will assess your students and planning backwards from that knowledge. If teachers are unable to examine and discuss the summative assessment for their students, how can they plan their instruction? Yet, that very question assumes that this test is something worth planning for. The fact is that schools that try to plan their curriculum exclusively to prepare students for this test are ignoring the body of educational research that tells us how children learn, and how to create developmentally appropriate activities to engage students in the act of learning. This article will attempt to provide evidence for these claims as a snapshot of what is happening as a result of current policies.
The teacher argues the “PARCC test is developmentally inappropriate.”
The PARCC, which is supposedly a test of the Common Core State Standards, appears to have taken liberties with regard to grade level texts. For example, on the Spring 2016 PARCC for 4th Graders, students were expected to read an excerpt from xxx. According to Scholastic, this text is at an interest level forPARCC Gets Parked: What Testing Companies Don't Want Parents to Know: