Thursday, February 25, 2016
By Mike BushnellTop educators from Illinois and Maryland are taking to the airwaves to promote student participation in this year’s state assessments. Steve Elza, 2015 Illinois Teacher of the Year, and Josh Parker, 2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year, are being featured in audio news releases that are running across the two states beginning this week.
Both Elza, an applied technology teacher at William Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill., and Parker, an English language arts teacher at Windsor Mill Middle School in Milford Mill, Md., were participants in a study the National Network of State Teachers of the Year published last year that gave PARCC high marks, saying the tests “illustrate where we should be headed in summative assessment,” compared to previous state-specific exams.
In the audio releases, both Elza and Parker agree that PARCC helps teachers focus on helping students master core competencies, instead of simply teaching to a test. They both add that PARCC assessments give students, parents and educators a more honest assessment of individual students’ mastery of the skills they need to be successful in higher education and the workforce.
“PARCC also pulled back the curtain on a long-unspoken truth: our students were not as prepared for the more rigorous coursework in college, or even to start working after college,” Parker says in his release.
Parker and Elza both say that every teacher who took part in the research came to the same conclusion: PARCC is a test worth taking.