The results of the state’s new Common Core-aligned PARCC exam have come back and, as many educators expected, they aren’t pretty. Students are still finding their way around the tricky new curriculum and the test itself is still far from perfect. 

Many parents, especially at the elementary school level, rose up in a movement to “opt-out” of the test due to an understandable frustration with what they thought was an overreliance on test-based assessment in classrooms. 

Ironically, participation rates for districts 90 and 97, where a lot of opt-out energy seemed concentrated, were overwhelmingly higher than those for District 200. Oak Park and River Forest High School students not only opted out of the test at much higher rates — nearly 11 percent in the English and Language Arts (ELA) portion and nearly 24 percent in the math portion — their performances on the ELA and math portions were strikingly non-aligned. 

Around 54 percent of students at the high school met or exceeded PARCC standards in ELA, while only around 15 percent did in math. 

We don’t know much of what to make of the distinction — the high school’s explanation (that it’s more advanced math students didn’t take the test) notwithstanding. 

More than a pilot version on which to work out the crinkles and base future improvements, this first-year PARCC exam, based on our admittedly shallow understanding of the results, may introduce more questions, quandaries and mysteries than it resolves.  

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