Home Voorhees News Eastern Regional High School works to increase PARCC participation

Eastern Regional High School works to increase PARCC participation

Eastern Regional High School works to increase PARCC participation


The number of students at Eastern Regional High School who participated in last year’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam was well below the 95 percent participation rate required by law.

With that low participation rate, Eastern is now required to submit a corrective action plan to the Camden County Superintendent’s Office outlining how Eastern plans to increase its PARCC participation rates in the future.

PARCC is the computer-based exam that took the place of New Jersey’s former grade 11 High School Proficiency Assessment exam starting with the 2014–2015 school year.

The standardized test was also given to students in grades three through 10.

Leading up to the test last year, numerous parents and parent groups throughout the various states that joined New Jersey in administering the exam rallied against the test, many of whom also did not allow their children to participate in the PARCC at all.

That story of mass refusal also played out at Eastern, and so, at the district’s Feb. 17 board of education meeting, the district’s director of curriculum, instruction and professional development, Robert Cloutier, outlined Eastern’s plan to increase participation rates moving forward.

Overall, Cloutier said the district would primarily focus on making sure there were more opportunities for parents and students to learn more about the exam.

“We will be hosting a night for all parents, for both math and English with our curriculum specialists, reviewing released test items and expectations for the PARCC,” Cloutier said. “A lot of that is new information and resources that have been released.”

Cloutier said the district would also work to ensure its website was up-to-date with all resources now available for PARCC moving forward, and the district would continue to devise ways to support its teachers as Eastern aligns its curriculum along the standards and expectations of PARCC. Despite those actions, Cloutier said he still did not believe Eastern would meet the 95 percent participation requirement for this year and said he did not believe Eastern would meet the requirement until the exam became the only graduation requirement available to students.

Currently, students can use assessments such as the SAT or ACT exams as their high school graduation requirement instead of the PARCC exam — options which Cloutier said would be available for students until the class of 2021.

“I think because such a high percentage of our students have met the alternative assessments that our students are choosing that as opposed to the PARCC,” Cloutier said.

Cloutier said the state also expects refusal rates to drop in future years as refusal rates last year were already much lower when looking at students on the elementary and middle school levels, and once those students move on to high school, the state expects them to be more familiar with the test and more willing to take it.

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