New PARCC test is no field day for students

Cunniff Elementary School prepares to take new statewide exam to replace MCAS

JACOB D., Cunniff Kids News staff

PARCC is now in Watertown!

Most of people are excited because they think kids can now spend their time at a park, but this PARCC stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College Careers. And PARCC is the test that students at Cunniff Elementary School will be taking in late March.

After having students take the MCAS test and using Think Math for many years, the Watertown school district decided that there needed to be a change. It has been said teachers at Watertown Middle School didn’t think that students were ready for the math they were to be taught. First, the district switched the math program to Singapore Math (Math and Focus). Then, it put MCAS away and substituted it with PARCC.

Parcc is a 90-minute test (unless students are granted extra time) of one of the subjects: math, writing (which is only for fourth-graders), and ELA (English Language Arts).

This test is new to not only the third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders, but to the teachers, too. To get the kids (and themselves) used to these tests, the teachers began running an afterschool class. These classes were an instant success and many third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students took it.

“This test is hard,” says Brenden, a fifth-grade student. “Much more work than MCAS.”

Yes, this is true. The PARCC test involves much more thinking than MCAS. In ELA, the test-takers have to think beyond the text. In math, the questions have more than one skill in them. In writing, the prompt will be different from what people are used to getting. It’s almost like a big sandwich with lots of ingredients, except instead of food in a sandwich, these are concepts in the brain.

Even though these tests are quick and hard, the kids in the Cunniff Elementary School feel that they are learning more and working harder to persevere. Hopefully, all the effort and determination in these tests will show.

–March 10, 2015–