Last week, Deep Blue Financial quoted opponents of the PARCC. This week, we review its supporters.

Part II: PARCC: An Educational Success Story Of Reform
The Partnership for the Assessment of College and Career (PARCC) are the new tests that are due out next week. They replace the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT) and are meant to test critical thinking and experience-based skills rather than knowledge.

As mentioned last week, some educators detest the PARCC saying that it is difficult and complex. But others love it. One fact about this PARCC is that it is definitely controversial. There are as many opinions as student hairstyles.

How Will You PARCC?

How Will You PARCC?

To understand the PARCC and how it will effect Northbrook and the rest of the North Shore, one has to start with the Common Core Standards which were formalized in 2009. The problem was that
For years, the academic progress of our nation’s students has been stagnant, and we have lost ground to our international peers. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) decided that root of the problems lay in an ‘uneven patchwork of academic standards that vary from state to state.’

How to deal with this? Have a 4th grader in the Bronx, New York, learn the same material and take the same standardized test as another 4th grader in Deerfield, Illinois. The result? All students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live.
Forty-three states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) voluntarily adopted the standards. Illinois came on board in 2010. The PARCC is the exam that measures these new learning expectations.

In School District 203, Tim Wierenga, the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning told Naperville News that he liked the change:

It will feed us student level data on how well students are doing in a specific type of standard in the common core and then it will give us a better roadmap of how we can help those students progress through the course of the year.

Children in his district and others are rapping themselves up for an 8-10 hour computer-assisted multiple choice and open-ended question test that stresses critical thinking, analytical prowess, and dealing with the world outside the school doors.

Differences that they will find to last year’s test include:

• A greater focus on fewer topics
• Larger concentration on writing skills
• Focusing on both procedural skills and conceptual understanding.

Adam Faust, Founder & Principal at Deep Blue Financial LLC:

My third grader is learning math in such a different way than I did. She is learning how to do multiplication in ten different ways. It is awesome. The ways that she will be able to use that throughout life are immeasurable.
This reform then may be scored ‘Promising’ for a better educational future. What do you think?

Story By:  Leah Zitter, Writer