Tuesday, June 21, 2016


The number of Columbia High School students who took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests this year dropped significantly from 2015, according to Superintendent John Ramos.

Ramos revealed the dismal turnout data at Monday night's school board meeting, reporting that just 47% of CHS students took the PARCC English/language arts test and 49% took the math test. That is down from 2015 when 63% of students took the English/language arts test and 66% took the math exam.

"A significant number of Columbia High School students refused to participate," Ramos said. "This is a significant decrease from last year."

The PARCC exam, which is optional, has come under scrutiny by those opposed to standardized tests who contend they take away from learning time and offer an unfair picture of performance. The federal government has set a policy that schools failing to meet a 95% participation rate can lose funding, but it is unclear how that is being enforced.

"This may have been prompted in part by the technical difficulties which Pearson experienced this year," Ramos added.

Ramos also noted that, district-wide, the participation rate was 78% in English/language arts and 79% in mathematics.

He added that elementary school participation was 92% or better across those schools, while Maplewood Middle School had a 90% participation rate and South Orange Middle School's participation rate was 87%.

"We do not know what consequences, if any, there will be for the two schools that did not meet the 95% participation requirement," Ramos said.

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