The Student News Site of Wilde Lake High School

The Paw Print

The Student News Site of Wilde Lake High School

The Paw Print

The Student News Site of Wilde Lake High School

The Paw Print

Apprehension Surrounds Future Testing

Feature StoryStudents will be hit by a new wave of standardized tests, featuring both multiple-choice questions and numerous writing pieces, in 2014. According to the Maryland State Department of Education (MDSE), these tests are designed to hold students to a higher standard of academic achievement.

These PARCC assessments will replace the current HSA tests as a graduation requirement within the next few years. But, other than the addition of narrative and document-based essays, the specifics of the tests are still unclear to the faculty.

According to Mr. LeMon, “There are too many unanswered questions. They haven’t released the PARCC test or written the curriculum yet.”

Teachers have access to only a few example questions online, so there is still uncertainty about how different PARCC tests will be from the HSA.

When asked about how she felt about the two assessments, Ms. Pennington said, “I would vote for a replacement of the HSA, but I need to see the PARCC test first.”

Students and teachers will have one year to prepare for the transition between the 2013 implementation of the new curriculum and the first round of PARCC testing in 2014.

Raising the bar does raise concerns for students, faculty, and parents. Students who fail the HSA multiple times currently take a Mastery class or fulfill the requirement through the Bridge Program. Ms. Midgley currently teaches the English HSA Mastery class at Wilde Lake.

“There are about 18 students in [my] class this year . . . I don’t know if there will even be a mastery program for the PARCC test,” said Ms. Midgley.

PARCC testing has the potential to leave even more students behind, particularly during the first few years as students and teachers are adjusting to the new system. “There’s obviously some concern about how to prepare students for a test we haven’t seen yet, especially because these are high stakes tests for graduation,” said Ms. Midgley.

Cathy Zhu, a senior taking five AP classes, believes that state mandated tests like the HSA and PARCC assessments can also negatively impact students who pass. “They’re unnecessary, especially for the upper level classes because the students are taking time off for these tests when they could be learning other things,” said Zhu.

When asked if she believes tests like the HSA accurately reflect student ability, senior and AP student Yelena Malorodova said, “Personally, I’m not motivated to try my hardest on the tests. And too many factors can affect students’ scores, like how much sleep they got that night or if they’re stressed about other schoolwork.”

Maryland’s wave of educational reform will begin in 2013 with the Common Core State Standards. This new curriculum focuses on ensuring students’ college readiness, with the PARCC tests tracking their achievement from third through twelfth grade.
Concerning the rush to reform, Ms. Vernon said, “The majority of teachers believe in it, but they are pushing it too fast.”

The state’s reform initiatives are designed to ready students for college and careers, but the questions surrounding the program could potentially leave teachers and students unprepared for the change.

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The Student News Site of Wilde Lake High School
Apprehension Surrounds Future Testing