May 21, 2015

Credit Milo Skalicky / for NPR Illinois


School administrators are typically too polite to say “Told ya so!” but they have every right to when it comes to the PARCC test -- the new standardized test associated with the Common Core curriculum. The chief complaint about the test, implemented this year, was that it took 10 hours. Schools had to suspend their normal schedules for up to a month at a time, as they shuttled classes into and out of computer labs. One section was given in March, and another in May, making a double dose of disruption.

The consortium made the change in response to complaints from parents and educators that the test was too long.

This week, the PARCC consortium voted to cut about 90 minutes and consolidate the test into one session. Anne Morris, test coordinator at Springfield’s District 186, was thrilled.

“Consolidating it into one testing window is the best idea yet. We had a lot of voices saying that that is a good idea,” Morris said. “All the things they have done are good ideas, and the reason being is they have listened to the feedback they’ve gotten from educators. So they’re being very responsive to that.”   

Illinois students finish their second round of PARCC testing next week. A measure moving through the Illinois legislature would allow students to opt-out of the test altogether.