Charting The End of MCAS and The Beginning of PARCC

Part Four of a transcript of the Dec. 3 School Committee Meeting. For the links to all parts of the transcript, click here.

Nick DiSilvio (credit: Anne-Marie Fiore)
Nick DiSilvio (credit: Anne-Marie Fiore)

Part Four of a transcript of the Dec. 3 School Committee Meeting. For the links to all parts of the transcript, click here. 

8:59 p.m. to 9:26 p.m. (119:00 to 146:00)

Rodriguez then gave an update on PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment in Readiness for College and Careers.

There will be a field test in the spring 2014, with an analysis in fall of 2014, with MCAS requirements being exempted next year.

Then there would be a full test in spring of 2015, with more analysis later.

Changes are expected for MCAS in future years, although questions were asked if PARCC would give lower standards than current preparations for MCAS, which Rodriguez said that the state Board of Education would be analyzing that over the summer of 2015, and that the concerns were that PARCC would become too rigorous.

There were concerns whether PARCC would be phased out by other states and Rigney hoped that the state would stop beating around the bush and just accept this as a part of new national common core standards

While he was not thrilled about field tests, he indicated that if the district is going to take accountability seriously, it needs to have a mechanism for that, and this is what has been decided, so it should be accepted and rolled out.

Rodriguez then elaborated on that point along with an explanation including when local superintendents can exempt certain classes of students who are overburdened by tests.

School departments across the state will be given sample letters to give to parents regarding non-participation for MCAS and that the state is working with school committees to provide resources regarding the transition.

The test will be provided by a company called Pearson.

Rigney asked the committee if they had any questions relating to exemptions and discussion continued regarding taking both tests.

High schoolers cannot be exempted from one of the other, although PARCC tests are likely only going to be given to high schoolers who don’t take the MCAS, such as freshmen.

On average, the overlap is expected to impact two sections per class.

There was more discussion over what subjects would be tested within the PARCC and how long all the testing will take.

Rigney asked if students should be made to take both sets of tests or if exemptions should be made and previous data from MCAS should be abandoned.

Rodriguez said that there would not be any penalties relating to accountability ratings, but the negative impact would come from either a lack of data or overtesting.

Rigney said that he does not want to overtest, but if it’s going to happen, he’d prefer continuing to keep the data.

9:26 p.m. to 9:29 p.m. (146:00 to 149:00)

The board then approved a field trip, discussed an update on the high school bathroom construction, and there was a brief discussion on policy, with Rigney asking if it could be continued until next week.

Then meeting was adjourned soon after that.



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