Mack: Exams at certain times can be beneficial IF they provide real time feedback that teachers can use to drive instruction. Preparing for PARCC exams takes a tremendous amount of time that should be used for instruction. Essentially, all instruction stops when PARCC is being administered. Most importantly, PARCC results are not available to a teacher until the student who took PARCC this year has moved to another grade and another teacher. This gap impedes a teacher’s ability to implement changes that improve learning. Common Core can be beneficial, especially in math. However, given the level of differentiation that is expected in classrooms - language, abilities, motivation - it is next to impossible for a “common” curriculum to be used effectively. How can a teacher who has students who are on grade level, above grade level, and, in some cases, two years below grade level be expected to successfully implement the same “common” curriculum in his/her class when these disparities exist? The bigger issue is, “Why test kids at all if nothing meaningful is done with the results?” By one of BCPS’s measures of “success,” the percentage of Grade 3 students demonstrating on grade-level reading has dropped from 56.9% in FY 2016 to 56.4% in FY 2017, YET, last March (2017), Dallas Dance decreed that no BCPS elementary school student could be retained for any reason. How did this decree help the almost 44% of Grade 3 students who weren’t reading on grade level more than halfway through the year?