New Jersey to start phasing out controversial PARCC standardized test

BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | MonroeNow | Jul 11, 2018

Governor Murphy is taking the steps to end New Jersey’s relationship with the often controversial PARCC standardized testing exams.

At a press conference in Atlantic City, Governor Murphy announced his plans on Tuesday to transition away from PARCC.

The governor wants to reduce the number of test required to graduate from six to two, provide test results to educators and parents in a timelier manner and provide flexibility for first-year English learners on the language proficiency test. Those changes, though, would require state Board of Education approval.

The governor also wants to reduce the length of testing for public school students by 25 percent and the weight the results have on teacher evaluations, which would not require state board approval.

“Because of a focused, concentrated effort to reach out to New Jersey residents and to give them a voice at the table, we are on a clear path away from PARCC,” said Governor Murphy. “By making the transition in phases, we can ensure a smooth implementation in schools across the state and maintain compliance with current state and federal requirements.”

The first-term governor said during the campaign season that he would eliminate the test that has roiled parents, students and educators since its implementation. However, the governor’s plan does not eliminate PARCC entirely. Instead he said these actions will began the state on a path away from it.

PARCC, which stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College Careers, was highly controversial when it first launched in 2014-2015 school year. Some said the tests were too difficult. Thousands of families didn’t let their children take the test as a sign of protest.

“This is a step in the right direction. From the moment it was introduced, the PARCC was widely criticized by teachers, school administrators, parents and students for being overly confusing and taking up too much instructional time,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex in a statement on Tuesday. “We cannot evaluate student proficiency and base a student’s ability to graduate on a flawed system. Students should have to prove that they are ready for graduation, but not through an assessment as inadequate and problematic as the PARCC.”