PARCC test successor could prove even worse

I felt like John McEnroe after reading about Maryland State Department of Education's plan to replace PARCC with a new test: "You've got to be kidding me!" ("Maryland planning new test to replace PARCC," Sept. 11). This is not to say that PARCC is a great test, nor that some other test might not be better. However, I can say that the replacement test, as presently described, will be worse.

I had a department chairman who used to put his hand in front of his mouth to show how the muckety-mucks in education were always talking out of both sides of their mouths. On one side, the article is replete with educators talking about maintaining standards. On the other side, Chief Academic Officer Carol A. Williamson describes the proposed new test as being "computer adaptive." Perhaps we should ask Superintendent Karen Salmon to explain what she means by "standards." Apparently, she would have no problem with using the oxymoron "adaptive standards" in her explanation. But then again, how standards are defined and manipulated in state public schools has always been adaptive, dictated by graduation rates and, through smoke and mirrors, adjusted in an attempt to provide statistics which belie the truth.

So, State Department of Education, you go ahead and write a new test, but if a component of that test is adaptive, don't try to bamboozle the public with your Orwellian doublespeak by calling the test "standardized."

Paul Leroy, Bel Air

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