Illinois drops PARCC college readiness exam

Mariana Alfaro, Web Editor

Illinois high school students will no longer take the short-lived PARCC college readiness exam after parents, teachers and administrators said it distracted from regular class instruction, the State Board of Education announced Monday.

The exam was dropped after only two administrations and will be replaced by a state-sponsored SAT test. Originally designed to measure students’ college readiness with analytical questions, the exam was largely unpopular among students. According to the Associated Press, about 10 percent of eligible students in Chicago didn’t take the exam last year.

“Many of our students that are top students actually never took the test,” said Pete Bavis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Evanston Township High School.

Bavis said ETHS administrators vocally supported replacing the exam with a college entrance test because it can directly impact a student’s college application.

“Despite its name, PARCC is not a college entrance exam,” Bavis said. “Not a single ETHS student has gotten into college because of a PARCC score.”

Bavis also said a state-sponsored SAT test will offer relief to students who can’t afford college entrance exam fees: an SAT exam can cost more than $50.

Since students will no longer receive preparation sessions for the PARCC exam, Bavis said ETHS will offer free, personalized review sessions for the SAT online. The sessions will be run through a collaboration between the College Board, the SAT’s parent company, and Khan Academy.

High school juniors will be tested in the fall through the PSAT — a test that determines a student’s eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program — and with these results a tailored study program will be created for them through Khan Academy to prepare for the SAT.

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