The easiest explanation is to spell “PARCC” backwards. But Diane Ravitch has an excellent guest post that I strongly recommend on the topic, by Bob Shepherd. Here are a few quotes, explaining just one aspect of what’s wrong with the brand-new tests being imposed on US schoolchildren today:
“The test formats are inappropriate.
” First, the tests consist largely of objective-format items (multiple-choice and EBSR). These item types are most appropriate for testing very low-level skills (e.g., recall of factual detail). However, on these tests, such item formats are pressed into a kind of service for which they are, generally, not appropriate. They are used to test “higher-order thinking.” The test questions therefore tend to be tricky and convoluted. The test makers, these days, all insist on answer choices all being plausible. Well, what does plausible mean? Well, at a minimum, plausible means “reasonable.” So, the questions are supposed to deal with higher-order thinking, and the wrong answers are all supposed to be plausible, so the test questions end up being extraordinarily complex and confusing and tricky, all because the “experts” who designed these tests didn’t understand the most basic stuff about creating assessments–that objective question formats are generally not great for testing higher-order thinking, for example.
“For many of the sample released questions, there is, arguably, no answer among the answer choices that is correct or [else there is] more than one answer that is correct, or [else] the question simply is not, arguably, actually answerable as written.
“Second, at the early grades, the tests end up being as much a test of keyboarding skills as of attainment in ELA. The online testing format is entirely inappropriate for most third graders.