Testing contract leaves school districts with uncertainty - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Testing contract leaves school districts with uncertainty

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Districts are preparing to use what's known as PARCC tests. That stands for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. But their lesson plans may be forced to change in the future.

School districts say the state's thrown a wrench in long term planning with the one year testing contract.

"The uncertainty of it is going to continue after this year," explained Clinton Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Tim Martin. "That's one of the things that bothers us."

Mississippi's State Board of Education had to get an assessment approved for this school year before December.

PARCC is often linked to Common Core standards. Martin says the reality is, there are other options out there.

"The beauty of PARCC was having comparability across different states," described Martin. "But when we started, we had 26 states in PARCC. We now have roughly 9 states in PARCC, so, the comparability is not as great as it once was."

If the test does change next year, they'll have a harder time judging improvement within the district too.

"We never get a true picture of how our students are doing or how our teachers are doing in providing instruction because we're continually changing assessments," Martin said.

Common Core has been a classroom adjustment for every district. Madison County Superintendent Ronnie McGehee said a different test wouldn't change those standards. But teachers still try to prepare students for what to expect on the test.

"The uncertainty is if you're not going to take them then what are you going to take?" questioned McGehee.

McGehee said they'll try to keep business as usual but this will be in the back of their minds.

"The bottom line is good teaching is good teaching," said McGehee. "So therefore, prepare our kids for the future they're going to live in, and whether that's PARCC assessments or ACT or other ones that can substitute in lieu of. Just let us know which one it is and we will succeed at it."

The State Board of Education said in a statement that they had no reasonable alternative to this one year contract. Several school districts are on block schedules that need an assessment in place for the first week of December.

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