PARCC to replace the ACT next school year

 

By Danah Bialoruski

 

The ACT has been administered to high school juniors for more than 50 years, but the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, will soon replace the ACT as the go-to college assessment exam.

The PARCC exam will begin being administered during the 2014-2015 school year at Lane and across the nation.

Founded in 2010, the PARCC exam is a nationwide, K-12 assessment exam that tracks students’ progress to becoming college ready by the end of their senior year. The test is designed to require more critical thinking and explanation through writing compared to the ACT, which assesses more practical knowledge.

Though the PARCC exam will be used instead of the ACT for state wide measurement, that does not mean that the ACT will be completely eliminated. Students will still have the ability to take the exam if they please.

“Lane is still trying to host an ACT test date next year so that the juniors and seniors who still want to take the ACT can take it,” Mrs. Thompson, Lane Assistant Principal, said.

Thompson also said there is also no word yet on if colleges will be accepting the PARCC exam as form of a standardized test score. Even though this information is not yet known, the creators of the exam believe the exam will show students if they are college ready or not, show teachers what more preparation for college their students need, and allow parents to get an idea of their child’s readiness for college.

Switching to the PARCC exam was no random act. The exam has slowly been adopted by multiple states including Illinois.

Another major difference between the PARCC exam and the ACT is the fact that the PARCC exam will be computer based. It will also be broken up into separate components such as listening, reading, speaking, researching, and mathematics. Each subject will be taken during different times of the day and not during a 4-hour period. It will be a mix of multiple choice as well as written essays.

With this new standardized test being instituted, some students have wondered how they will be able to prepare for it.

Even though Suzette Ramirez, Div. 554, is in the last class of Juniors to take the ACT at Lane, she thinks students will not be able to know how to study for the test and it will make it harder for them to do well.

“I think it’s going to be a lot more work on the younger classes,” Ramirez said. “They are going to have to study so much harder than the years before them have. There’s going to be more pressure on them to get good scores since they have never even seen the test before and don’t know what to expect.”

While Ramirez believes it will be harder for students to properly study for the exam, Thompson claims that Lane teachers are already prepping their students for the PARCC exam so that they are prepared.

“Our classes have been doing a big push for literacy across the curriculum with more writing assignments, more reading of critical texts, and doing more research reports,” Thompson said.

She also said that even PE classes are engaging in more reading during class.