The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island and 13 other organizations urged school districts not to use tests from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, as a graduation requirement before 2020, according to a press release.
The state’s Council on Elementary and Secondary Education recommended 2020 as the year to start tying the results to high school graduation, but some districts requested permission to use the PARCC tests in math and English as a graduation requirement before that date. Changes make it possible, on a local level, to use the tests as a graduation requirement as early as 2017.
The 14 organizations say, in a letter sent to every school district in the state, that an earlier timeline than was originally recommended by the council will be particularly hard on students who are most at risk for not graduating, including English language learners and special education students.
We therefore call upon your school district to abide by the standards contained in the current regulations and avoid any use of PARCC scores for graduation or grading purposes until the 2020 date established in the regulations. Only in this way does the possibility exist that adequate notice will be provided to parents and students and the school district will truly be able to ensure it is providing the necessary individualized supports to students that the regulations demand.
The letter is also signed by representatives from the following organizations:
- Coalition to Defend Public Education
- The Autism Project
- Direct Action for Rights and Equality
- George Wiley Center
- NAACP, Providence Branch
- National Association of Social Workers, R.I. Chapter
- Parent Support Network of Rhode Island
- Parents Across Rhode Island
- Providence Student Union
- Rhode Island Disability Law Center
- Rhode Island Teachers of English Language Learners
- Tides Family Services
- Young Voices
PARCC tests are being administered in about a dozen states, including Illinois and Maryland. The tests aren’t used as a graduation requirement in Illinois, as the state has no exit-exam requirement per se. In Maryland, the use of the High School Assessments in algebra I/data analysis and English 10 is being phased out as a graduation requirement, to be replaced by the tests from PARCC over the next few years.