I read with interest the letter from Linda Noonan, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, on the replacement of the MCAS with PARCC. She did leave out some important pieces of information about their report. In the summary, the report stated: “For PARCC, our answer to each of the questions is a cautious and conditional 'Yes,'” and “Until PARCC releases results and interpretive materials, however, we will not know how useful that information is for parents, educators, and policy makers.” Please take a few minutes and read through the entire report, “Educating Students for Success” prepared for the MBAE by the Center for Assessment.
What we do know is that our state, Massachusetts, ranked No. 1 in education in our country, as it has been since 2005; if Massachusetts were a country, its eighth-graders would rank second in the world in science; eighth-graders also came in sixth in mathematics; and we have a free and public education available for all our children.
Neither did she mention that the PARRC is technology-driven, putting a greater burden on the taxpayer, or the data mining that is accompanying all this information on our children.
I believe the most telling statement in the summary was, “That [the comparison between the two tests] is a relevant and important comparison because it informs stakeholders and the decision that the board will be making next fall when they choose the future direction of state assessment in Massachusetts.” The direction the “board” will take in choosing the future of state assessment? Now, the question should be, Who do you want making that decision — parents, the locally elected school committee or the “board”?