Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Students Turning to Paper for PARCC Exams

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is an effort to provide information on how prepared students are for higher education or work after high school. The exams are based on Common Core standards for reading and math, but technical glitches in the computer-given tests are driving some districts to turn to paper instead.

“Our concern was really that the results of this testing taken online wouldn’t necessarily give clear data on what students know and should be able to do,” a spokeswoman for one school district told The Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune reported that one in four students in Illinois will use paper to take the exams during the spring testing period, costing districts an additional $2.4 million. The percentage of students taking the test online vs. paper is about the same in other states giving the test, according to PARCC officials.

About 11% of the school districts in Illinois plan to use paper and pencil to give the exam and another 34% will use a combination of paper and computer exams. The cost to administer the test to grades 3-8 is about $24 per student, but it rises to $33 each for paper testing.

The Tribune also reported that some students are planning to not take the exams at all, but opting out could be an issue. State officials said that if more than 5% of students statewide opt out, Illinois could fail federal requirements and face sanctions and that the state could then penalize districts for not testing enough students.

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