Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you've probably heard a lot about the PARCC test (at least here in the US).  In a nutshell (and it's very nutty), it's a standardized test given to students from 4th grade through highs school.  It's new, it's unproven and preparing students to take this has definitely taken away from classroom instruction. (My son who is in the 4th grade has never, in my memory, taken a test on a computer so this is a new and stressful situation for him.)

Though I've been following the PARCC drama, I'm by no means an expert on either side.  I'm mostly irked, annoyed and otherwise irritated by the fact that so much time has been spent preparing for this darned thing; time that in my opinion, could be better used for other scholastic endeavors.  But PARCC is here, at least for now.  (I have to be optimistic for the future.)

Parents are angry about the whole situation and I'm not too happy myself.  Some parents have opted their children out of taking the test.  I respect that.  I have not and I hope my stance is respected as well. 

 Here is why I have NOT opted out/refused the PARCC:

  • My son is not comfortable on a computer.  I've had him practice some basic typing at home to prepare him.  I want him to take the PARCC to learn how to use a computer for future tests and to see how computerized tests are set up.  I have emphasized to him that this test is a way to learn new computer skills.
  • There have been plenty of glitches during the "trial" testing.  I'm sure there will be more during the actual test.  I want my son to learn how to handle situations where things go wrong.  I've told him if something doesn't load properly or freezes up; not to panic.  He needs to learn how to act and what to do when things go wrong (as they often do with new technology).
  • My son has test anxiety.  This has nothing to do with the PARCC itself (although I know it has stressed EVERYONE out).  My husband and I have emphasized how little value we place on the actual score.  For us this test is about learning how to take tests.  We have stressed that doing your best is always important, but so is learning from mistakes.  Before I left for work this morning I told him again to remain calm and do his best; that is all that matters to us.  (I know others might have a different view on this and how scoring might affect his future, but what is the point of stressing him out?  By not making a big deal out of this test and doing our best of keep him calm and relaxed, I feel he will do better; not just on this test but on future tests.)

Last year it was NJ ASK (or NJ ASS as we called it in our house).  This year it is PARCC (or CCRAP).  As a student, my son will be faced with many tests.  I want him to be comfortable as possible when taking then, even if I don't feel they amount of a hill of beans.

As a responsible parent, I KNOW what my son's strengths and weaknesses are.  I don't need any test to tell me that.  As a responsible parent, I encourage my son to work to improve where he is weak and celebrate where he is strong.  I don't need a test to tell me that my son is NOT the "smartest" kid in the class (but that is not to say that he isn't smart).  A test won't tell me how creative and caring he is; something that I feel is more important than scoring well on ANY test).

My son will be faced with plenty of CCRAP (and crap) throughout his life.  I know PARCC is CCRAP.  I chose to take the crap and make the best of it.  I chose to use this CCRAP as a life learning lesson.  It may not be what it is intended for, but if it exists (and it does), I want him to face it and learn.  PARCC may be CCRAP, but even out of crap, maybe something good can blossom.


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