PARCC testing begins for 3rd through 8th graders

PARCC testing begins for 3rd through 8 graders

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Despite the endless debates, Common Core testing started Monday.

From March 16-20, PARCC assessments in English/Language Arts and Math will be taken by students in grades three through eight.

Schools are not expected to get their results until October.

Louisiana is not alone in the fight against Common Core.

Many parents are upset that any student who opts out of the testing is given an automatic zero. The score does not affect the student, but will likely impact each schools performance score as well as the grade the district is given by the state department of education.

As of Monday, six students in East Baton Rouge had opted out of taking the test. In Ascension Parish, a spokesman said 31 students had been opted out. Zachary Schools had a total of 41 students opt out, in West Baton Rouge the number unofficial number is 68. Livingston Parish had the most students at 217. However, it is the 153 students in Central that have the state's top education officials concerned. 

Louisiana's Superintendent of Education, John White, said Central is one of three districts where the percentage of non-participants is moderate to significant.

During a telephone conference, White said the state department will have to go back and validate that these students really did opt out of the testing and were not just sick, or out of town.

Central Community School's Superintendent Michael Faulk while he respects the decision those parents made, he's trying to gauge how much the district will be impacted.

For example, his district has 2,000 students being tested. Of those 1,000 are at the middle school, where 104 students or 10% of the testing population opted out.

"You can't tell me it's not going to have a significant impact," Faulk said. His concern is how the scores will be calculated, factoring in the zeros from those who do not participate. "How reliable, how valid is the data that you're going to use to calculate these schools and these districts performance."

He added, Central Intermediate (grades 3-5) had 49 students opt out. Faulk says their school system has a unique situation, in which two schools, one Pre-K through K and the other 1-2, feed into Central Intermediate. He says whatever performance score the intermediate gets, the other two schools get as well.

"Scores at that one school make up the score for 60% of my schools." The other factor, he says, is with progress points. "Take the prior year results, take current years test results and student has to show some growth. Well, if student had a prior result, but this year opted out and has a zero - they have not shown progress. We're not eligible for progress points."

John White says he's invited Faulk for a one-on-one to discuss the issues.

Gov. Bobby Jindal released the following statement Monday afternoon:

"Supriya and I decided not to opt out our children from the PARCC tests because of concerns that DOE would penalize our children's school as a result of us choosing to opt them out of the test. I will be working hard to make sure this is the last year that we, or any other parents in the state, are forced to subject our children to this exam."

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