PARCC Replacement: How New Is It?


Olivia Abeyta, Author

This year’s new testing season brings a new standardized test. Newly elected governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the official replacement of a new standardized test that will replace the former PARCC test. While the new test is aimed at making testing season more comfortable, there are some drawbacks to the decision.

Most students are relieved to hear that the new test will have fewer questions and a shorter testing window — the new test runs for periods of 60 to 90 minutes, down 30 percent in comparison to the former PARCC test.

The testing is scheduled for the week of April 22 – 25. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors will test from 8:45 to 10:30 on these days, and the rest of the day will proceed as if it were a snow delay. (Seniors will arrive after testing.)

The cost of this is that each individual question will now have a greater impact on the overall score.

The performance of a student has effects on both their graduation eligibility as well as on the grade of the school as a whole. This test, like PARCC, also greatly affects teacher evaluations.  

The new test, which is called the New Mexico Standard Based Transition Assessment of Math and English Language Arts, aligns to the New Mexico Common Core State Standards and is similar to PARCC in structure and design. Student performance results will also be that same, meaning that this year’s scores can be compared with last year’s scores.  

This resemblance is done purposefully to ease the state’s transition out of PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) and into a new test. The test is also administered through the same platform as PARCC.

The time change isn’t the only difference. Proficiency levels, as well as adding Applied Maths to the testing list, have also changed. According to testing coordinator Coach Holladay, the previous testing score needed to be proficient was a 3, but due to the added weight to the questions, that score has been changed to a 4.  

The test administered this year won’t be its final version. Even after it is administered in late April, there will continue to be progress in its development. Governor Grisham stated in a report from the Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board that the new assessment will be created with the help of teachers, school administrators, and parents.

“The state didn’t have time to make a new [test],” said Coach Holladay, explaining why the test is basically the same as years past. “PARCC was the only testing bank that had test questions aligned to the New Mexico state standards.”

New Mexico isn’t the only state that recently scrapped PARCC. New Jersey made it so that the PARCC test was not a graduation requirement. Both New Mexico and New Jersey are two of the former 26 states that were in the original plan for the PARCC test.

According to Valerie Straus of The Washington Post, New Mexico’s decision ends what critics have called an obsession with high-risk standardized tests, which experts say are either unreliable or unfair to students and teachers.