A trial run for the new standardized test known as the PARCC exam begins in Rhode Island next week. The test is slated to replace the annual NECAP in 2015, as public schools transition to a new set of standards called the Common Core.
A growing group of parents, teachers and others continue to raise questions about test and the Common Core. They are calling on Rhode Island lawmakers to stop the initiative in a movement that mirrors similar anti-Common Core efforts around the country.
In school districts across Rhode Island, some 9,000 students are about to get a taste of the test replacing NECAP next year. The students are participating in field testing for the test, known as PARCC, starting next week.
PARCC is slated to be used in 17 states. Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Deborah Gist says the field testing comes as designers refine the exam, and will give teachers, administrators and students a chance to prepare for next year.
The College Board has announced changes to the SAT, a test many high school students have suffered through on their way to college acceptance.
Critics of the test, and there are many, say it is an unreliable predictor of student performance in college, and some colleges, including Salve Regina University in Newport and Bryant University in Smithfield, have stopped requiring SAT scores from their applicants.
More Rhode Island students are taking Advanced Placement tests, but they are not passing at the same rates as their peers around the country.
The College Board has just released its annual report on AP testing. The study shows that nearly 2,500 members of Rhode Island’s class of 2013 took an AP exam, up from roughly 1,000 in 2003. The number represents more than a quarter of all high school graduates.
But as the number of test takers has increased, the percentage of students passing the exams has fallen.
The latest NECAP scores show more high school students reaching proficiency in both reading and mathematics, although math scores continue to be lower than state officials might like.
The Rhode Island Department of Education says 36 percent of high school juniors scored proficient in math in 2013, up from just 27 percent in 2009. 81 percent scored proficient in reading, up from 73 percent in 2009.
Thousands of high school students across Rhode Island learn this week whether they improved enough on a standardized test to earn a diploma. The state is releasing NECAP scores for all students, including 4,000 high school seniors who had to re-take the test. One of them, Providence Senior Ruth Presendieu stopped by our studio to talk about what it’s like to be a member of the first Rhode Island class whose graduation is linked to standardized testing.
Philadelphia is firing principals in the latest scandal over cheating on standardized tests. As The New York Times reports, a large number of erasure marks in testing booklets raised red flags and led to the investigation that uncovered the cheating.
The scandal, one of the largest in the country, has implicated 137 educators at 27 different schools over a three-year period.