HHS AP students began taking their AP exams this week, prepping for them in a variety of ways. Some had motivational breakfasts before the exam, and a few dressed for success.
Here’s a look:
By Khayla Dixon, Tiffany Jones, Iris Ocasio, and Jesse Sanzari
As HHS approaches the PARCC testing season, students, teachers, and administrators are beginning to prepare for the exams.
The PARCC is set of state mandated tests that students are required to take to graduate high school. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is a standard set of K–12 assessments in Mathematics and English.
The tests measure if a student is prepared to graduate and be successful in college and careers in the future.
HHS reserved two days for training, which took place on Friday, March 18th and Monday, March 21st. The goal was to ensure that students are well prepared for the PARCC.
It has occupied the class time of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in all core classes.
Students expressed many strong feelings about the PARCC and preparations that accompanied these exams.
One sophomore, Ashley Giordano, dislikes the PARCC. “I learn less in school and it takes time away from my education,” she said, then added, “A whole year of teaching should not be reduced to one test.”
Marisa Pelikan, a sophomore, also expressed her discontent. “I am not learning anything,” she said, stating that the PARCC was “making me feel bad about myself.”
A common concern expressed by students is that the PARCC preparation was taking away class time that could be used to teach students new material.
Samuel Ashbury, a junior, stated, “PARCC distracts us from the actual curriculum that we are learning.”
Students also feel that PARCC testing as whole is unnecessary and redundant. “Frankly, it is a waste of my time and everyone else’s time,” stated Ashley Giordano.
Sophomore Grace Grinko said, “As a daughter of a teacher and as a student, I know that students don’t try on it and don’t take it seriously, and it affects the teachers badly while they are doing their job.”
Teachers and administrators countered that the PARCC is taken seriously by the state and students are expected to do their best.
Mr. Taylor, a World History teacher, believes that “the PARCC practice is important, but it could have been better structured.”
While some students acknowledged that anything new has to be learned and interpreted before it as easy to accept, many students take two to three of the same practice tests in one day which means two to three classes where no regular curriculum has been covered.
In addition, students pointed out that classes had to leave their rooms to go to computer labs which demanded more organization.
In general, however, students do recognize that dealing with the PARCC is necessary.
Mr. Taylor said, “We need to figure out the PARCC the same way that we had to figure out the HSPA and any standardized test before that.”
Assistant Principal of the senior class, Dr. Galiana, believes that the days spent preparing for the PARCC will most definitely improve students scores.
He stated that since the PARCC is a different test than students are used to, helping students get familiar with the questions being asked and responses that they need to give is of the utmost importance to achieve the highest scores.
When asked what the purpose of the PARCC test is, he answered that it is a test to “assess students learning” and be able to address and pinpoint individual students weaknesses
When questioned about whether teachers were being evaluated based on their students’ PARCC scores, HHS Principal Montesano confirmed this was part of the evaluation process.
“Each teacher is measured on how much their own students grow,” he said, “however, the PARCC is just one small part of their overall evaluation.”
Mr. Montesano believes that staff and students have adapted better since last year’s PARCC practice stating, ”Last year no one really knew what to expect. Teachers have been doing a great job. we’re ready.”
Margarite Lovett of Standard Solution works with HHS staff on PARCC readiness techniques. Teachers will then work with students to ensure they are well-prepared to excel on the upcoming PARCC exams.