The Wilson Beacon

PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

Graphic courtesy of Pia Doran

Meredith Ellison

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) testing at Wilson is wrapping up, so The Beacon caught up with eight underclassmen math and English teachers to see how they feel about the test.

While many of the teachers acknowledged that standardized testing has its merits, none of them said that PARCC scores should be included in teacher evaluations. The main problem that the teachers highlighted is that students see the test as insignificant, and therefore do not put forth their best effort.

“There are too many variables with a student’s PARCC score that are outside the teacher’s control,” math teacher Emily Farrar said. “The problem is that the stakes aren’t high enough for students to where their investment level in the course matches their investment level in the test.”

English teacher James Cisneros agrees that test scores may not be an accurate metric for teacher evaluation. “There may be [student] apathy in taking the PARCC that will unfairly paint the teacher to look like they are not competent, like they’re not doing their job in the classroom,” Cisneros said.

Longtime Wilson English teacher Belle Belew emphasized the inconsistency in the evaluation system. “I think it’s ridiculous to only evaluate some teachers,” Belew said. Because students only take PARCC tests in math and English, only Algebra I, Geometry, English I, and English II teachers’ evaluations include PARCC scores.

English teacher Anna Batler takes issue with the length of the test. “Why is it that an exam to get into graduate school is only three hours long but the PARCC English exam is over five hours long, and then there’s five hours of math?” Batler said.

Some concerns that teachers voiced are not unique to PARCC, rather they are issues with all standardized tests. “There’s a wide variety of things that can influence how a student does. There’s things at home, they’re hungry, they’re tired, whatever. I don’t think that one test score is something to put that much weight into,” English teacher Joseph Welch said.

“I have plenty of students who do well in class but when it comes to taking a standardized test, it doesn’t fit, that’s not their strong point,” Cisneros said.

Many teachers said that whether PARCC accurately measures student achievement depends on students’ effort. “It just depends on the kid—whether or not they’ve put anything into it, how much they value it,” Belew said.

PARCC scores have no effect on a student’s grade and the main incentive for taking the test is off-campus lunch. “If kids are not held accountable, than they don’t see the benefit of doing their best,” math teacher Patricia Milikin said.

The test is scored on a scale from one to five, and a score of three or above is passing. Farrar believes that even though PARCC does not directly align with a student’s course curriculum, it is a good measurement of mastery. “A kid who gets a four on a PARCC test knows their stuff,” she said.

A common complaint among the teachers was that by the time PARCC scores are released, the students are no longer in their class. “[PARCC scores are] not really giving me a whole lot of information that I can use. We don’t get the scores until later. By then, the students are already gone from me,” Welch said. “The data is more used to hold teachers accountable than to hold institutions and societal factors accountable.”

English teacher Jacob Williams explained that the score reports themselves are not helpful.  “[The reports are] just a number rather than showing what they missed on certain standards,” he said.

Many teachers agreed that condensing testing is not feasible because of Wilson’s limited space and number of computers. However, they did not hold back when it came to the negative impacts on their students missing instructional time.

Math teacher Jamaal Wise said that mid-April to mid-May poses many scheduling issues for teachers. “Especially in math, which is coherent, you need to know the previous lesson to learn the next lesson,” Wise said.

Wise is not alone in his frustration. “Students missing my class for PARCC, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” Welch said. “If the goal for [teachers] is growth, we should have as many class days as we can possibly fit in the year.”

*Noah Frank, Ethan Leifman, Elie Salem, and Talia Zitner contributed to this article

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Tristan May works to unseat Virginia incumbent

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Colyar Trimble encourages voting through registration drive

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    A history of DC statehood and taxation without representation

  • Features

    Stoic Feed

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Why, Wilson?

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Why are private schools more associated with sexual assault?

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Fruit of the Month

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Turf repairs address safety concerns

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Filmmaker and leader: spotlight on Kadesha Bonds

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    The Science Behind: Flu season

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    From monsters to espresso: Wilson alumni take on DC restaurant industry

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Pre-published copies of The Beacon sold on eBay*

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    2018 DC Mayoral Candidate Profiles

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Wealth club encourages financial awareness

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Phil Mendelson runs for reelection as Chairman of DC Council

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Italian exchange students spend a week at Wilson

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Student service profiles: Sam Alswang, Maya Canady, William Cheves, Maria House

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    DCPS community service graduation requirement in review

  • Features

    Wilson is Wilson, but should it be?

  • PARCC testing not favorable for teachers

    Features

    Why, Wilson?

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Woodrow Wilson Senior High School
PARCC testing not favorable for teachers