The state’s new PARCC standardized tests will require fewer testing periods next year, and take up less classroom time, as a result of revisions announced by the multi-state Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium on May 21.

The New Jersey School Boards Association welcomed the changes. “We appreciate the PARCC consortium’s sensitivity and responsiveness to the issue of test administration time,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director.

“New Jersey has made refinements to previous statewide testing programs after their initial administration. We anticipated similar action following this year’s administration of PARCC, and we welcome the changes,” he said. “It is critical that we have a testing program that measures student progress, with the least disruption possible of instructional time and the school schedule.”

PARCC serves as New Jersey’s testing program to measure student progress toward standards in math and language arts. The computer-based test was administered for the first time in March and May of 2015.

Reducing Testing Time The PARCC modifications include reducing overall test administration by approximately 90 minutes, from 11 hours in high school and 10 hours in elementary school, and consolidating the two test periods – March and May – into a single test window in the spring.

This year, students in grades 3 through 8 and high school took the PARCC assessments in two segments. The March assessment required students to construct written answers to questions, and explain their responses. The May tests were “end-of-year” assessments, largely multiple-choice questions.

The state’s assessment program continues to be examined. In November, Gov. Chris Christie appointed a Study Commission on the Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey, which is expected to issue its findings this summer. The NJSBA executive director serves on the commission.