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RIDE Adjusts Participation Numbers On PARCC Testing

Published
Rhode Island's Department of Education has reduced slightly the percentage of students who took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College...

Rhode Island's Department of Education has reduced slightly the percentage of students who took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a standardized test now administered annually in public schools.

State officials now say 88 percent of students took the English portion of the test, two percentage points lower than originally reported. Ninety percent of students participated in the Math test.

"On review of the reports, we recognized that the field marked 'Number of Enrolled Students' did not represent all of the students eligible for testing and that, as a result, the reported percentages of students tested (Percent Tested) were too high in some instances," RIDE said in a public statement.

The education agency said the error had "no effect" on state, district or school results reported in November.

Statewide, just 36 percent of students met or exceeded expectations on the English portion of the test and just 25 percent were proficient in Math. Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner has said the scores are likely to improve as students become accustomed to the new test.

However, Wagner also said the results show Rhode Island has work to do to meet the goals of the Common Core standards, especially in minority and low-income communities.

Designed to measure progress on the Common Core classroom standards for Math and English, Rhode Island public schools began using PARCC during the last academic year. School districts are required by federal law to administer annual testing, but concerns about the difficulty and length of PARCC, and a larger backlash against standardized testing in general fueled an opt-out movement that proved strong in some areas, especially in high schools.

The state's new numbers suggest that just 77 percent of high school students participated in PARCC testing, and in some individual schools participation rates were much lower. In Scituate, for example, just 14 percent of high school students took the Math test and just 27 percent took the English portion of PARCC. 

Pencils will soon be a thing of the past on standardized tests. Roughly 80 percent of Rhode Island students took PARCC on computers.
Pencils will soon be a thing of the past on standardized tests. Roughly 80 percent of Rhode Island students took PARCC on computers.