At last night’s Hopewell Valley Regional School District school board meeting, the board passed a resolution that sets forth the district’s policy for students whose parents have made the decision to refuse state-mandated PARCC testing, short for “Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.”
The PARCC exam is a state-mandated education assessment tool replacing the NJASK “New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge” that will be administered to students in grades 3 through 11 this March throughout New Jersey. While it is state-mandated exam, in that school districts are required to provide it, parents are permitted to refuse to allow their children to take the exam.
MercerMe covered basic PARCC information that HVRSD offered at a formal presentation at Hopewell Elementary School this month. HVRSD has also prepared a “Frequency Asked Questions” page available online that you can check out here. And the State of NJ has provided FAQ as well.
“The resolution we are approving today is not anything new to the district. We are approving something we have already done. The idea of people refusing standardized tests is not new to PARCC — this district had 6 refusals last year for NJASK. The way the district currently handles it is that a student who is not taking the test does not go into the room where the test is being administered.
The resolution is being passed because, across the state, not everyone handles the issue the way HVRSD district does. The gist of the resolution is that we treat our families and students with respect. Some of the other districts do not necessarily believe that you show respect the same way we do. Some districts have a ‘sit and stare’ policy, which is punitive, but is also disrespectful for the children taking the test because it can be disruptive,” explained school board president, Lisa Wolff.
“There will be no games provided and there will be no additional instructional time during the time the test is being administered,” said Wolff.
The potential use of the exam still hangs in the balance. Yesterday, the New Jersey Assembly approved a bill delaying high stakes use of PARCC results for 3 years and it will now be before the Senate. For information, check out the NJ Spotlight article, PARCC Testing Opponents Win Victory in State Assembly, But What’s Next?.
At the meeting last night, one school board member asked about funding implications for not meeting the required 95% exam participation rate. The 95% comes from No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 — the federal government has required every state to test 95% of their students in grades 3 to 8, according to the State of NJ website.
“So far, refusal numbers are in the mid-70’s for those who have refused this year,” said HVRSD superintendent Tom Smith. “The district has been told that 95% of students must participate to insure the validity of the test and also that the state and federal funding could be jeopardized. But we are not worried. There are districts that are receiving more refusals.”
This afternoon at 2pm, Governor Chris Christie will be presenting his budget address. You can watch it live by clicking this link.