New PARCC tests come to NJ schools this spring

New Jersey students will have to take the PARCC test come this spring.

New Jersey students will have to take the PARCC test come this spring. (12/3/14)

BRICK - Students in New Jersey will soon be switching to computer-based testing for the first time in the state’s history.

Starting this spring, the NJ ASK tests, the current standardized tests in schools, will be replaced by the "Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers” or PARCC tests.

Brick Township is one of the school districts that took place in field testing for the PARCC last spring. The district invested in new Chrome books for students, expanded bandwidth and made upgrades to the technology.

Safeguards were also put in place to protect the tests. 

District IT Manager Jim Baio explains, “If the Internet were to fail, the answers are still saved locally on the machine and we have caching servers installed in the school. The answers get saved too if you lose the Internet connection.”

Several Brick teachers have taken and given sample tests and say they appear to be seamless.

Acting Education Commissioner David Hespe says students have really taken well to the new format.

“Certainly better than a pencil and paper test,” he says.

However, some teachers, such as Marie Corfield, an art teacher in Flemington, are skeptical of the PARCC tests. 

“Can a third-grader sit still for several hours and type an essay question on a Chrome book that is a little bit bigger than an iPad?” Corfield asks.

She says PARCC “were field-tested on less than 10 percent of students in the state and now they are going to be rolled out statewide”.

The state says the PARCC test won’t be required for graduation until at least 2019.

Anyone who wants to take an example practice test can do so on the PARCC website.

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