R.I. education commissioner rolls back testing for 10th grader

Jul 16, 2016 by

Students in grades 3 through 9 will still be required to take the PARCC, and all students will take the math PARCC test.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A decision by state Education Commissioner Ken Wagner will spare 10th graders in Rhode Island public schools from having to take the standardized English test known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

Students in grades 3 through 9 will still be required to take the PARCC.

But high school students will have to take the math PARCC test, typically Algebra I, at some point in high school, Wagner said in a conversation Saturday. (Some students take Algebra I after ninth grade.)

Wagner said the new rules reflect a widespread concern among parents and teachers that the state was over-testing its high school students, who have been taking standardized tests in grades 9 and 10 in addition to the college-readiness exams, known as SATs and PSATs.

It also recognizes that Governor Raimondo included money in her 2017 budget to provide students with free SATs and PSATs as a way to encourage more students to apply to college.

In the future, Wagner said that he would like to use a combination of the PARCC and a college-readiness test like the SAT as part of Rhode Island’s high school graduation requirements. But that calls for a deeper conversation with the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education.

The PARRC was introduced in Rhode Island during the 2014-15 school year to enable comparisons of Rhode Island schools to those in other similar school districts across the country. Since then, many states have dropped the PARCC due to public criticism and problems with test administration.

In New England, Massachusetts gave districts the option of using the PARCC or the state’s own standardized test. Other states lowered their passing scores, making state-by-state comparisons difficult.

The Council on Elementary and Secondary Education wants to drop the PARCC or any standardized test as one of its graduation requirements. A decision will be discussed in a series of public forums before final adoption.

A statement issued by the Department of Education on Friday provided this explanation for dropping the sometimes controversial PARCC test for 10th graders:

“Our statewide testing policy provides that all students in tested grades or courses who are enrolled in a public school are expected to participate in state assessments … In addition to PARCC testing this coming year, all Rhode Island public-school sophomores and juniors will have the opportunity, if they choose to do so, to take the PSAT/NMSQT and SAT, respectively, for free during the school day.

Source: R.I. education commissioner rolls back testing for 10th graders – News – providencejournal.com – Providence, RI

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