Sarah Blaine, a lawyer and parent in New Jersey, calls on the legislature to block the use of PARCC as a graduation requirement for students in the state.

As she notes in this article, the New Jersey Assembly voted overwhelmingly to block the State Board of Education from imposing this nutty requirement.

The bill now moves to the State Senate, and she urges senators to vote for the bill.

She writes:

On March 16, the New Jersey Assembly overwhelmingly passed ACR-215, which is a resolution declaring that the state Board of Education’s new regulations requiring students to pass the PARCC Algebra 1 and the 10th grade PARCC English Language Arts tests to graduate from high school are “inconsistent with legislative intent.”

The existing law requires a comprehensive 11th grade test (which these two PARCC tests, neither of which is generally administered in 11th grade, are not). The resolution will not stop New Jersey’s schools from having to offer PARCC each year, but if adopted by the state Senate as well, it is a step toward ensuring that students will not have to pass PARCC to graduate from high school.

With this resolution, the Assembly took the first step in one process by which our New Jersey legislators can check the authority of our governor and his appointees (in this case, the state Board of Education): invalidating regulations that our Legislature determines are “inconsistent with legislative intent.” In English, that means that if the Legislature passes a law, and the executive branch decides to ignore the law and do something different, the Legislature can tell the executive branch: “No, you’re wrong, please go back to the drawing board.” Because this is a check on the executive branch’s authority, the governor’s signature is not required.

As at least 180,000 New Jersey students demonstrated by refusing to take PARCC tests in 2015 and 2016, opposition to PARCC testing is widespread. But leaving the substantive issues surrounding the PARCC test aside, important as they are, ACR-215 and its senate companion resolution, SCR-132, are about governance. That is, in considering these resolutions, the key question our legislators must decide is whether they are willing to allow Gov. Chris Christie and the Christie-appointed Board of Education to openly ignore New Jersey law.

Blaine writes about the issue as an open conflict between the executive and the legislative branches.

But the substantive issues are worth reviewing.

The PARCC test was created by Pearson as a test of the Common Core standards in grades 3-8.

PARCC was never intended to be a graduation test. Most states that signed up to use it as a test of annual student performance in grades 3-8 have dropped it. New Jersey is one of the very few states that still require this test.

No standardized test should be used as a high school graduation test. Standardized tests are normed on a bell curve, and they are designed to differentiate from best to worst scores. They are designed to have a certain proportion of students who will fail, no matter how hard they try.

The state of New Jersey should not substitute the SAT or the ACT or any other standardized test for PARCC, because they all suffer the same fatal flaw.

There are many ways to set graduation requirements and make them rigorous for some, but reasonable for all. It is not reasonable to establish a high bar that some students will clear, but most will not, or that a substantial minority will not. There must be a reasonable path towards winning a diploma, especially for students with cognitive disabilities, and students who for other reasons will never ever pass the PARCC.

It is a basic rule of psychometrics (the study of testing) that tests should be used only for the purpose for which they were designed.

The legislature should force the governor and the state board to drop PARCC as a graduation requirement and give thought to reasonable standards that match the diverse needs of the state’s students.

If the state keeps