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Changes to Tests, Reduction in PARCC Questions Help Quell Opt-Out Movement in Louisiana

Changes to Tests, Reduction in PARCC Questions Help Quell Opt-Out Movement in Louisiana

A reduction in the state’s use of questions from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a July deadline for results and on-going efforts to review and tweak the tests have resulted in less opposition in Louisiana schools this testing season.

According to The New Orleans Advocate, “[t]hree bills that passed during the 2015 legislative session, including those to review the standards and tweak the tests, are cited for helping to lower the temperature in the runup to this year’s event.”

A new state law that limits questions from consortiums to no more than 49.9 percent of test questions has a lot to do with the decreased opposition.

"PARCC turned into a lightning rod for criticism, including charges that it included questions out of touch with what students in Louisiana have been taught,” the article said.

In addition, the testing period itself was decreased to the delight of those who comprised the opposition last year.

"Last year, the tests were given in two cycles: March 16-20 and May 4-8. This year’s version is limited to April 25-29.”

The New Orleans Advocate says about 5,000 students in the state opted-out of exams last year; many districts are reporting few to no opt-outs this time around.

While the state voted to amend state standards last year, the standards are still in place until changes made by 100 educators and school board members can be reviewed and implemented in assessments. The new standards have only changed 20 percent of the Common Core, resulting in the trend of states “tweaking” versus throwing out Common Core altogether.

One thing is for sure- the fact that the state is working hard to address last year’s concerns seem to be enough to inspire participation from previously skeptical communities.

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/25/2016 

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