PARCC ousted in favor of new standardized test

PARCC ousted in favor of new standardized test

Sophie Bruch

Andrew Dong and Caleb Grim

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is set to be replaced with new tests with content provided by New Meridian. The tests will be held on the same dates, from April 20 to May 22, although the DCPS assessment calendar still displays the old PARCC name. 

Another change is that the number of test questions will be cut down. However, the tests will still be based on the common core and will cover English language, arts, and mathematics. Patricia Fowler, the Senior Project Manager at New Meridian, confirmed that the PARCC tests will be replaced in all states, including DC. “New Meridian [now] provides the content for numerous states’ assessments, including the District of Columbia,” Fowler said.

These changes were made due to a nationwide consensus that PARCC was taking too much time. Only four out of the original 23 states that took PARCC took the tests last year. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told The Baltimore Sun at the time that these tests were extremely unpopular. “Nearly everyone in Maryland—parents, teachers, students, and the governor—want these tests to end,” Hogan said. 

These changes were announced last July, but a similar decision was made when New Meridian, a nonprofit organization from Austin, Texas, was chosen to maintain and administer PARCC in April 2017. 

Shortly after the decision was announced, Hanna Skandera, the chair of PARCC’s board, spoke to Education Week, where she explained that the decision to bring in New Meridian to administer PARCC was based on feedback received about the test. “The agreement with New Meridian reflects two years of discussions with states to reshape itself to respond best to their needs,” Skandera said. 

When Margate, New Jersey Superintendent Thomas Baruffi announced the switch to New Meridian, he told The Press of Atlantic City that the name change would help test perception. 

The New Meridian tests will have the same subjects PARCC had. However, the New Meridian tests generally have a reduced number of units for both subjects, resulting in a reduction in testing time. In the case of the New Jersey Department of Education, testing time received a reduction of 90 minutes for ELA and 60 minutes for math. This is due to the fact that the New Meridian tests have around 25 percent fewer questions than the PARCC tests.