The NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) requires the administration of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) for all students in grades 3-11 in the areas of English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Replacing the NJ ASK and HSPA state standardized tests, PARCC has generated a great deal of controversy as to its validity, loss of instructional time, the potential over-testing of students, the use of scores to evaluate teacher performance, and the lack of timely feedback from the test that could be used to drive instruction. In point of fact, the Edison Board of Education forwarded to the Commissioner of Education and other state officials a resolution dissenting with the use of the PARCC test.The PARCC Consortium of States originally comprised 24 states, and currently consists of 7 states. Student scores for PARCC are reflected on a continuum of levels from 1 to 5, with one not meeting expectations to five exceeding expectations. New Jersey chose to consider only levels 4 and 5 as passing, with levels 1,2,3 not passing standards for college and career readiness.Recently, Chief Academic Officer Margaret DeLuca and Assistant Superintendent Tara Beams presented an analysis of the PARCC scores for students in Edison School District. In the elementary grades 3-5, the participation rate was high at 98%, and the “opt-out” student rate was negligible. While there was a divergence of scores in Edison’s eleven elementary schools, the percentage of scores for Edison students passing the test with a 4 or 5 level, was substantially higher than those students in PARCC schools or NJ State schools, as is shown in the chart below.
CHART IPercent Students Passing PARCC for Grades 3-5
NJ State Average
Edison District Average
68Due to “opt-out” students in the middle school grades 6-8, the participation rate declined to 91%. The percent of students passing ELA PARCC in grades 6, 7, 8 was 41% for PARCC students, 51% for NJ State students, and 75% for Edison students. For the 7th and 8th grade, there were no comparable Math scores of students passing PARCC, since so many of our students take Algebra l and/or Geometry at different grade levels.
The PARCC picture for high schools was quite different. Graduation requirements for classes 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 mandate a passing score for one ELA PARCC and one MATH PARCC; or an average score in reading and math for the SAT,ACT, PSAT, Accuplacer or ASVAB. With so many options for fulfilling the graduation requirements, the participation rate for ELA PARCC was 86% for grade 9, 71% for grade 10, and 38% for grade 11. Chart ll depicts the percent of high school students passing the ELA PARCC in grades 9, 10 and 11.
CHART llPercent Students Passing ELA PARCC
65With Algebra l, ll, and Geometry offered across many grade levels in Edison middle and high schools, the percent of MATH scores for PARCC and NJ State students was not comparable to Edison student scores.PARCC tests will be administered for the second time this April and May, 2016. Thanks to our diligent and dedicated teachers and parents, we expect our students will continue the pattern of scoring relatively high on this state mandated test.
Dr. Frank Heelan, President
Edison Board of Education