Parents have questions, concerns about PARCC test

RAW: Caddo Parish Chief Academic Officer Keith Burton on PARCC

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Parents across Louisiana are asking questions and expressing concern about a new test their children will soon be taking.

For the first time this Spring, Louisiana students in grades 3 through 8 will take the PARCC test.

PARCC stands for the Partnership for Readiness for College and Careers. Unlike the memorization-based LEAP test, the PARCC test is application-based.

The implementation of the application-based assessment is the culmination of the shift in the state's education standards to Common Core, which is a single set of standards for English-language arts and mathematics.The PARCC test is replacing the iLEAP/LEAP test.

The PARCC test is not pass or fail. Whether they pass or not, children can still advance to the next grade level.

Still, it's a concern many educators like Jackie Jones has heard from parents.

"The PARCC test will be used to compare how students are learning across Louisiana with the rest of the nation," says Jones.

Keith Burton, Chief Academic Officer of Caddo Parish Public Schools, says parents do have an option about whether their child takes the test.

"The parent can request that, but unfortunately the school receives a zero for that child, so it is of course not something we recommend," Burton said. "We in Caddo Parish have a requirement that in order for that child to - or will have a requirement - when that child is going to opt out of testing, they won't be able to promote until they have participated in that standardized testing. They do not have to pass it, they do not have to reach any certain benchmark, but they do have to participate in the test."

What applies for one school district does not apply for another. Each School District will determine what the PARCC test means for a child.

In Bossier Parish, according to PR Liaison Sonja Bailes, the school board has not come to a decision about how opting out of the PARCC test will affect a child's promotion.

"There is a lot of uncertainty right now as to what exactly local boards can do, what actions they can take in regard to the PARCC," said Bailes. "Right now our board has not taken a stance on what it will be doing as far as those students that are opted out."

There is no time table, at this time, for when all school boards must vote on whether or not opting a child out of the PARCC will affect their promotion.

State education officials say the PARCC test will be used to assess how students are learning in Shreveport/Bossier City, and across the state of Louisiana, with the rest of the nation.

The PARCC will be administered in two parts. Part 1 will be given March 16-20. Part 2 will be given May 4-7.

The results of those exams won't be known until the Fall of the following school year. Parents are encouraged to call their local school district to determine how the PARCC exam will affect their child's promotion.

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