The MCAS is known around school as being the only statewide mandatory test; however, recently students participated in a new online test: the PARCC Assessment.

The PARCC Assessment is going to replace the older MCAS. PARCC itself stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

A few classes at Andover High School were selected as a test group to try out the new online test and give some feedback. The classes selected as test groups were Math 1 and Math 3 classes that consisted of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. The assessment was also only math-based questions.

Test Group member Brendan Croston, a freshman at Andover, said that he found the newer PARCC assessment more challenging: “The questions were definitely harder. On the MCAS the questions were more conceptual, and on the PARCC they were more math-based, and involved much larger numbers than the MCAS.”

He also added that there were many technical difficulties in the test, some of which even required kids to restart their computers. To add to this, Mr. Seide also confirmed that there were some difficulties in the program, but Andover’s computer technicians were on the scene to bump out any kinks in the software.

So when exactly is this test going to come to us? According to a recent announcement shared by Mr. Seide, PARCC won’t take over for MCAS entirely for four years. He also told me that he has no idea whether every grade or if just one grade will be participating in the new assessment. Some key information he released was that the test will probably be math and English only but it isn’t impossible there will be a science test as well.

“It would probably feel weird having a different test considering I’ve been taking MCAS since third grade,” Nikki Righter, a junior at Andover High, admitted. “I’ve heard the test is much harder from some of my friends, which makes me grateful I don’t have to take the newer test.”

Freshman Aram Smith said the test was very stressful. He said, “It was hard to concentrate considering your answers and feedback will determine how hard the test you will be taking in the future will be.” Also, he thinks that they should keep the MCAS instead, because he likes the format better and he did not like the online form.

There will also be another practice PARCC test on May 29 and 30 that again will only be math questions. The test is going to be like the first one, with 46 real questions, and 18 feedback questions. Anyone who would like to see or try out the new test can find the sample questions here:http://www.parcconline.org/computer-based-samples . Please note that the test can only be taken on Google Chrome.

By Travis Traub