Confused About PARCC? Wondering About Midterms? What to Know

by The Village Green
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PARCC, the new generation of standardized testing for all New Jersey students in grades 3-11, is fast approaching, with the first session of testing due to begin in March. The South Orange-Maplewood School District is hosting three information sessions for parents.

Columbia High School is hosting a session tonight, January 21, at 7 p.m. in the CHS cafeteria for parents of 9th, 10th, and 11th graders. (Twelfth graders do not take PARCC.)

For middle school students, SOMS and MMS are hosting a joint PARCC parent night Wednesday, February 4, at 7:30 p.m. at SOMS. Administrators will discuss design of the test, the problem types it features, and how parents can support their child’s success at home.

The Parenting Center and the Elementary School PTAs are hosting a PARCC Testing Overview for elementary school students, with presentation by Susan Grierson, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, at 7:30 p.m. on February 5, at Seth Boyden School, 274 Boyden Avenue in Maplewood.

All students in New Jersey public schools from grades 3-11 will take the PARCC in March and again in May, in English/Language Arts (ELA) and in math.

Middle School:

In all three grades, students will be taking the PARCC assessment over the course of five days in the morning. The assessment consists of three days of English Language Arts (ELA) testing and two days of Mathematics.

March 2-6: 8th grade
March 9-13: 7th grade
March 16-20: 6th grade

High School:

Students in 9th, 10th and 11th grades will take the PARCC over the course of five days in the morning for 70-90 minutes each day.

March 2-6: 11th grade
March 9-13: 10th grade
March 16-20:9th grade

“While we know that you or your students may be worried about taking the assessments, or what they may ‘mean’, please know that we at CHS are confident that we will be able to use the results of and the experience your students have taking PARCC to better understand how they are learning, where their learning strengths are, and what work lies ahead for them and us,” said CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron in an email to parents.

She continued, “We aim to have the five days…that each student has to take PARCC to be a calm, smooth experience, and one that makes them feel supported and confident. We have designed our testing schedule to be as least disruptive to their day and week as we can, and we will share that schedule with you over the coming weeks. It does not include late arrivals for any students.”

For more information on PARCC, visit the district website or the PARCC website. You can also check out this Village Green article.

“PARCC has many features that align with how many of our students work and learn, including using online tools such as highlighting, enlarging text, using text-to-speech (all students have earphones while taking PARCC), and are taken on Chromebook laptop computers,” said Aaron.


CHS students will take midterms next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, January 27-29. The CHS Midterm Exam Schedule can be found on the district website and in this PDF document:

Download (PDF, 75KB)

Meanwhile, midterms for SOMS and MMS students are being altered, according to a recent email from Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Susan Grierson.

“This year we are looking at the way we assess our students in different content areas and are making some changes,” said Grierson in the email.

In ELA, Social Studies and Science, students will take a common assessment aligned to the Common Core Standards and consistent with the International Baccalaureate Programme. ELA will take place the week of January 26; social studies and science assessments will take place at the end of common unit assessments.

Traditional midterms will be given in math and Spanish during the week of January 26.

The Village Green has reached out to Grierson for more details on what the common assessments will entail. We will update this article when we receive the information.


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