One of the greatest things about our world is that everyone is different. Sure, we all fall within one learning modality or another but, for the most part we are all different. We come from different backgrounds, we have different home lives, we are exposed to different cultural experiences, and we (especially when we were younger) have many things that are truly out of our control. Yet, these tests treat us as if we are all robots. They treat us as if we are all in the same place of learning with the same resources and the same background information.
I will have the experience this week of administering the PARCC test to a handful of students. It will be my responsibility to make sure that they are staying on task, that they are staying focused, and that they know that no test can quantify their true potential nor can it quantify how far they have come this year. Included in my group of students will be a student who has only been learning English for one year. (This test doesn't take that into consideration.) If you are ten years old you will be measured against all other ten year olds no matter of where you are in your learning.
I feel terrible for my students that I have to look them in the eye and tell them that it will be okay. That I have to put them in front of a computer and ask them to do things that many grown adults would not be able to do. I feel helpless and frustrated. It is a horrible feeling knowing that the educators and parents are making it known that these tests are not beneficial yet the powers that be are not doing anything to make changes that make sense. I wish someone would have asked me, because I have a few suggestions that would help get these students ready for college without breaking their spirt before they get there.
Our society has a long way to go to become college ready. First, we need to level the playing ground for all students and help them so that when they come to school they are ready to learn and not just happy to be there were it is safe and where they can eat a meal. We, as a society, have a long way to go and sadly a short time to get there.
For all of us administering the PARCC test this month and for those taking the PARCC test, the struggle is real. The struggle to fit in to unrealistic expectations is no way to treat the youth of today.