Ramos: Here’s How PARCC Is Better This Year (and How to Opt Out)

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The following message is from South Orange-Maplewood Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Ramos: 


The PARCC English Language Arts and Math exams will be administered to students in grades 3-11 beginning on April 4, 2016. Each school’s testing schedules are listed here.

This year the following changes were made to the PARCC exam:

1.  One Testing Window – In the first year of PARCC testing, the exams were administered in two separate testing windows, one throughout March and a second during late April and May. This year, all exam sections will be given in a single testing window.
2.  Shorter Testing Time – Allotted testing time — roughly 10-11 hours in 2015 depending on a student’s grade level — will be shorter by about 90 minutes overall, 60 minutes fewer in math and 30 minutes fewer in English.
3.  Fewer Test Sessions – Students will take one, two or three fewer test sections depending on their grade.
4.  Some 11th Grade Students are Exempt – The State Department of Education has decided to excuse juniors who take Advanced Placement English tests or International Baccalaureate English tests in 11th grade from taking the PARCC English test for juniors.
5.  Faster Results – PARCC testing finished in May last year but students didn’t get their results until around December, a seven-month delay. This year, PARCC scores are expected to be returned more quickly.

SOMSD recognizes that some families have concerns about their children participating in PARCC testing, and we have received some questions about what happens should a family refuse to allow their child/children to be tested. We respect personal parental concerns about this assessment, while at the same time we are adhering to state regulations which mandate we must administer the PARCC. If you are planning to refuse to allow your son or daughter to take the test, please note the following:

*   Please send an email or a letter to the building principal as soon as possible indicating that you are refusing to have your child take the PARCC test.
*   For students in grades 3-8:
–  Please do not keep your child home from school. We are required to follow all attendance rules and regulations.
–  Non-test taking students should bring a book to keep them occupied during the hours of testing. They will remain in the classroom with the other students who are being tested. We cannot provide a separate space for non-testing students due to lack of personnel and space.
*   For students in grades 9-11:  Please follow the directions in Ms. Aaron’s letter on PARCC testing.
*   Refusing to take the test will not result in disciplinary action.

Thank you for your partnership in helping SOMSD meet our state-mandate.


John J. Ramos, Sr., Ed.D.

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