Tuesday, March 17, 2015

hi Pearson, please let people talk about PARCC

As we've written, PARCC testing is fully underway in Colorado and across the nation.  There's been a lot of talk about the merits of PARCC on social media and in the blogosphere.  It turns out, Pearson, the corporation which produces PARCC, is trying to keep that conversation to a minimum.
This isn't the only case we've heard of.  Pearson appears to want to keep information about PARCC testing off social media.  I have three huge issues with this:

1. It's flat out creepy that Pearson monitors students' social media posts.

2. Students' freedom of speech shouldn't be limited outside of the classroom, especially by a private corporation. If students want to use social media to express concerns about PARCC, they should feel free to do so.  As we've experienced, there is rarely a voice for students in the sphere of education policy; let's not eliminate the one place students can express themselves.

As we saw last fall, student dissent has the potential to have impact on public policymaking. We worry that, if students are discouraged from posting about PARCC on social media, their concerns about PARCC won't be heard.

3. The suppression of content is also rather ironic. According to Pearson, the PARCC testing is different from previous standardized testing because it is skill, not knowledge, based, and therefore forces students to think critically.  If social media posts really "undermine the integrity" of the test, there is no way that PARCC actually measures students' critical thinking skills.

We posted this last November about one student's CMAS experience.  We are all high school seniors and haven't taken the PARCC tests, but if there are anything students reading this who'd like to share their story, send an email to cmasprotest@gmail.com. We'd love to publish your story.

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