Tomorrow the Massachusetts Board of Education votes on what Commissioner Chester is calling a two year "tryout" of the PARCC test. That would be pilot testing in selected schools across Massachusetts this year--with an opting out of MCAS for those pupils at the discretion of the district--followed by half of schools taking PARCC and half of schools taking MCAS next year--with the choice, we are told, made by the district--followed by a vote on which test to use thereafter by the Board of Ed following the return of all scores.
With me so far?
This means, as reported in today's paper, that students in Worcester who are scheduled to pilot PARCC will be double-tested, as the administration has decided--with, I will say bluntly, no consultation with anyone outside of administration--to continue the MCAS with those students as well. As I mentioned in the article, parents in Worcester do have the option of availing themselves of the new WPS policy allowing parental opting out of non-state mandated testing. My husband and I certainly plan to.
For now, though, the major decision rests in Malden tomorrow, where I will be among those testifying regarding the board's decision. It was clear to me last weekend at the joint School Committees and Superintendents conference that concern about this is widely held across the state. We have heard repeatedly, however, that it is not being heard by the Board. Thus, if you have strong feelings on this, I would urge you to contact the Board of Ed today.