New Maryland assessment to replace PARCC


photo by Montgomery County Public Schools

Students in a classroom.

by Natalie Payne, Staff Writer

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam will be replaced by a new test in Maryland, starting in 2020. PARCC, which has been the state’s Common Core standardized test since the 2014-2015 school year, is now being replaced by the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program(MCAP). As of the current 2018-2019 school year, the test is only being administered by the school systems in the District of Columbia and three other states: Maryland, New Jersey, and New Mexico. Maryland is following the train of many states who have replaced or are replacing PARCC with their own testing including Ohio, Alabama, and Illinois.

One student, Stella Magana-Hughes commented that, “I feel like we’ll be used as guinea pigs, and the tests will be messed up somehow with not getting our scores.”

Maryland is replacing  PARCC with an exam that is less time consuming and less difficult for students to take. On PARCC, for each high school Mathematics test, there are three units, each being 90 minutes in length. For each high school English Language Arts test, there are three units also 90 minutes each. This long testing time, in addition to all the other state mandated tests that are being administered, caused each school’s schedule to be dramatically affected. In addition, the standardized test was too challenging for students to take with only around half of students passing the English 10 test and roughly 40 percent passing the Algebra I test.

Like many other states that have opted out of PARCC, Maryland is designing their own standardized test. The new test will pull concepts from the PARCC, it’s predecessor MAP testing, while expanding it. The test will now be shorter in time, have aligned unit times, and be more efficient in being scored. Students will be able to see their scores much earlier than late summer when PARCC scores are received. However, the new test will still assess college and career readiness and contain content from the PARCC assessment.

“The test will probably be made much easier to make it seem like better scores in students for Maryland. However, it will also be less stressful for students,” says freshman Naomi Tesfai.

The new test will replace the graduation requirement to pass English 10 and Algebra I PARCC. Students graduating in 2022 and later or who will not take Algebra I PARCC this year will have to pass the equivalent assessments on the MCAP.

Domesha Joanisse says, “I liked the structure of PARCC and favored it over MAP testing and other standardized testing, but I would like to wait and see what the new test is really like.” MCAP definitely will be a change for Maryland, but we will actually have to wait to see how deep the changes and improvements are.