- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico’s Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera is warning parents, students and educators to expect lower scores from a new statewide exam designed to test students’ knowledge of Common Core standards.

The Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers test results will be released for high school students Oct. 16 and for third- through eighth-graders Oct. 30. Skandera told the Albuquerque Journal (https://bit.ly/1VfrMlX) Thursday that other states that have implemented the test have seen up to a 40 percent drop in student proficiency ratings under the former Standards Based Assessment.

“We don’t know where New Mexico is going to fall on that spectrum, but it is fair to say we adopted those same higher standards, so we can anticipate and be prepared,” she said. “The dip won’t be because our kids got worse or our teachers aren’t teaching as well - it is because we raised the bar.”

The new test is administered online instead of on paper and requires students to show how they reached their answers. This type of exam provides a better picture of students’ real-world skills than the previous multiple-choice tests, Skandera said.

“It gives us much richer information for our teachers and our parents,” she said. “This is a great step for our state.”

But opponents of the PARCC exam and other student assessments have complained that the state’s children are being overtested.

In response, the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education on Sept. 16 recommended that district staff create an “opt-out kit” for parents who want to keep their children from standardized testing. The kit is available on the APS website and includes an opt-out form, testing schedule and information on each test.

Skandera said she has a “civil rights reaction” to the opt-out movement, because students who have skipped testing in the past have most often been low-income minorities.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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