Thursday, October 09, 2014

Montgomery school officials asks for delay in using new state tests for graduation

October 8, 2014

Montgomery County school leaders asked state officials Wednesday for a two-year delay in requiring that Maryland high school students pass new standardized tests in order to graduate.

The new tests, based on the national Common Core State Standards, are viewed as a more rigorous replacement for the High School Assessments, or HSAs, which Maryland has used since 2005 to test learning in Algebra 1, English 10, biology and government.

Montgomery has supported the new state tests — developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) — but district officials have voiced concern about how the results will be used as Maryland transitions to them.

Students in Maryland will take the PARCC tests for the first time this year across grades three to eight, and in Algebra 1 and English 10, courses linked to a high school graduation requirement.

“We think there are lots of practical issues we should be looking at before we make these tests count, so to speak, for our students,” Montgomery County Board of Education President Phil Kauffman said Wednesday, shortly after the county released a letter he sent to the state on the board’s behalf.
“Time is of the essence; this is a real issue that will impact the real lives of students,” Kauffman wrote in the letter.

Maryland education officials emphasized that passing the new state tests is not a graduation requirement for this year’s juniors or seniors, who must still show that they have passed the HSAs or completed a project-based assessment known as a bridge plan.

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