Chicago Public Schools teacher Micah J. Miner believes we need better standardized tests. And despite the ongoing debate around Common Core and the aligned assessments, he believes the new PARCC exam is what students need.
The naysayers are asking the wrong questions. I work with urban students, mostly of color, in a Chicago Public School for temporarily incarcerated youth. For me, the guiding question is always this: what do our students need? And, therefore, how can teachers, administrators, and district leaders meet those needs?
The PARCC consortium has enlisted educational leaders and practitioners to create a next-generation computerized test that is based on the CCSS and measures how students perform against the standards. While CCSS sets the foundation for understanding, PARCC attempts to give teachers like me a snapshot of my students’ educational needs.
Importantly, Miner doesn’t minimize the work ahead. He’s keeping his eyes on the big picture: supported professionals teaching high standards with meaningful accountability.
Understanding what students need and how to get there is worth the effort. We need an educational system that has high standards (like CCSS), tests with multiple measures of data to understand what students need (like PARCC), and a strong network of teachers, leaders and districts that can create learning paths that help all of our students become college and career ready.