Seitz: ‘Fewer Than 6’ Students Have Opted Out Of PARCC Test

“Fewer than six” of the more than 6,000 district students eligible for the controversial PARCC exams have opted out of the tests, interim schools Superintendent Lee Seitz said Feb. 26.

The computerized tests – known as the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exam – will be given to students in grades 3-11. They will be administered in the township’s elementary schools the week of March 2 and in the middle and high school the week of March 16.

New Jersey is one of 19 states that comprise the PARCC consortium. Parents opposed to the tests have organized in each of the states and are encouraging others to “opt out” of taking the tests.

There are no “opt out” provisions in New Jersey, Seitz has said. At the Feb. 26 Board of Education meeting, Seitz said that while the district has “great empathy for parents concerned” about the tests, they must be administered.

One parent sassed that a special room be set aside for her student who will not be taking the test, but Seitz said that’s not in th plan.

“We are not providing an opt-out room for our students,” he said. “We have had fewer than six students in the district opt out.”

Seitz said the students who do not take the test will stay in their classroom with their computers off. He said work that is not part of the regular curriculum can be brought into the test rooms.

Seitz also said that since this is the first year the tests are being given it is “fair to anticipate that there will be glitches in the system.”

“We’ll have to address those when they arrive,” he said.

“We’ll do our best to protect out students, respect (the feelings of) parents and abide by the rules of the state,” Seitz said.

Plans are for the PARCC tests to play a small role in evaluating teachers this year and to have them count toward high school graduation starting in 2019. A bill that was passed in the state Assembly on Feb. 23 would delay the test’s application to high school students for at least three years, starting next school year. The bill has not yet been considered by the state Senate.

The computerized tests quiz students in grades 3 through 12 in English language arts and math.

High school students who do not pass the PARCC test can still qualify for graduation by passing one of the several alternative qualifying tests: the SAT critical reading or math components, the ACT college readiness assessment in reading or math, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery-Armed Forces Qualification Test (ASVAB-AFQT) or Accuplacer or Accuplacer Math.

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