CPS plans to defy the state over new standardized testing

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Chicago Public Schools officials plan to defy the state over standardized testing, giving the controversial PARCC exam at just 10 percent of its schools, despite potential penalties, officials said Saturay.

“We continue our successful implementation of the Common Core, and we are moving forward with the plan to pilot PARCC to a 10 percent sample of schools across the district during both the March and May PARCC testing windows,” Chicago schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett said.

“This expanded pilot will provide essential information from an expanded testing environment along with a real-time test of the technology requirements to administer PARCC assessments across the entire district in the future.”

Among the concerns over PARCC is that it is an online test, and computers are needed to administer it, but the available technology varies among Chicago schools, officials said.

There’s also some concern about how technologically savvy students across the city might be.

The pilot of 10 percent of schools will help determine what technology is needed, officials said.

There are potential sanctions and funding could be withheld, but a “careful review” indicated the loss of funding is not legally mandated, officials said.

They said it hasn’t been decided yet which schools will be tested but that they will constitute a “representative” selection.

In October, Byrd-Bennett said she wanted to delay rolling out the test citywide.

Illinois is set to begin administering the PARCC this spring, to replace the elementary-level ISAT and high-school level Prairie State Achievement Examination with new tests aligned to Common Core state standards that are supposed to be tougher and require more critical thinking skills.

Last year, a CPS parent group delivered petitons containing about 4,000 signatures to the state education superintendent, seeking a year’s delay on administering the 10-hour online test.

An Illinois State Board of Education spokeswoman could not be reached Saturday. The agency has maintained that federal law requires all students must be given the same state test.

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