Sunday, March 8, 2015

Littleton High School Gives Elective Credits for Proficiency on PARCC. Who Will Be the Winners? Losers?

Sharing my correspondence re: my son's high school's plan to give elective credits for proficient PARCC scores. ELL students, children of poverty, special needs children, children with anxiety and other emotional stresses, children who are talented in ways that cannot be measured on a high stakes standardized tests, all lose. Again. 

Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2015 19:28:55 GMT

Hi -----,
Is PARCC participation and/or results going to be used to make any student decisions - such as rewards, extra credit, part of final grade for a class, credit towards graduation, counted towards homework or a final exam,  etc?



Peggy Robertson

Date: Thu, 5 Mar 2015 16:50:07 -0700
Hello Ms. Robertson,

Thank you for your inquiry.

We do not use the results of PARCC to make any student decisions such as rewards, extra credit, part of a final grade for a class, or count it towards homework or a final exam. However we do offer students one elective credit per grade level 9-11 if the student scores proficient or above on all of the PARCC tests. These tests give us an important picture of the achievement and academic growth of students over time. The results are not only part of the state accountability system, but also guide our school improvement planning. 


Fri, Mar 06, 2015 08:16 AM

Hi -----------------,

Well, as a teacher of 18 years, I have yet to find any use for any of these high stakes tests. They continue to point to zipcode and continue to say that children, teachers, and schools are failing when in reality, they are not failing, they simply are under resourced (as a community and as a school). In the elementary schools, this testing consumes almost the entire year - especially in schools of high poverty. Sadly, these children, with the greatest need, get tested more than anyone. At my school I have only had four weeks of the school year which have not been interrupted by some form of testing. ACCESS, PARCC, CMAS and the second wave of PARCC consume our year from January to May. Truly, we test the rest of the year. How can this be good for children and why would we reward this - therefore giving it value?

I am wondering if any children of poverty, children with special needs, and /or children with anxiety and other emotional stresses, children who are talented in ways that cannot be measured on a standardized test,  will receive the elective credit?

I teach in Aurora in a school with a high poverty rate where over 40 languages are spoken. We try to fill 180 food bags weekly for these children who have no food to eat over the weekend. I am quite certain what the results of PARCC will say about them - and all of it lies. And considering we are not allowed to look at the test, I can't figure out how in the world such a test could in anyway support me in planning for instruction. And of course the fact that we know it will be racially and culturally biased only adds insult to injury. We know all of this - yet, we continue to feed children tests, while in reality they need food, books, shelter, librarians (What happened to certified librarians? Imagine how many librarians we would have if we quit playing this game that states that these tests are somehow valuable to our instruction?), nurses, counselors, small class size...I could go on forever...

What's most unfortunate about Littleton's use of PARCC is that we know who will and will not benefit re: that elective. Status quo continues. And I think it's important to recognize that PARCC is not yet valid or reliable regardless the spin PARCC puts on that story. Corporate cash on the backs of children - and soon on the backs of teachers under SB191. I shudder to think of the teach to the test mantra that will become an even greater reality next year.

It would be wonderful if Littleton stepped up and refused to be a part of this propaganda.  Why not speak the truth to the parents? Considering the number of opt outs across the country it might be prudent to take a look at what's really going on and re-evaluate giving elective credits for PARCC. To be honest, it does not reflect well on Littleton High School. As principals, teachers and superintendents across the country speak up against this high stakes testing - which is truly educational malpractice, I'd love to know that my son's school was on the right side of history regarding this issue. Many thanks for all you do for Sam. He loves Littleton High School and all of his teachers. 

Thanks for letting me know and much appreciation for your honesty.


Peggy Robertson

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