Montgomery Township School District

MTSD Parent FAQ

In anticipation of questions you may have about the PARCC assessments we have identified a collection of questions that are general in nature as well as specific to your child or the grade level of your child. If you have a question that is not answered below, please pose your question to your school principal.

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Who takes the PARCC assessments and what do they look like?

PARCC assessments will be administered in grades 3-11 this school year, in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics.  Additionally, an assessment will be administered to any 12th grade student who is currently enrolled in ELA9, ELA10 or ELA11 and an Algebra I, Geometry, or Algebra II.

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How is the Montgomery Township School District preparing students for PARCC?

PARCC is an assessment of the common core and our curriculum has been aligned to the common core since 2010.  In addition, our teachers at every level (elementary, middle and high school are committed to incorporating best instructional practices, which support both the technology and the content assessed on the PARCC assessments. 

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When will PARCC testing occur this school year?

Regular Administration for Grades 3-8 will occur March 27 - May 19, 2017

Regular Administration for High School Students will occur March 27 - May 19, 2017

Specific dates for VES, LMS, UMS, and MHS will be communicated to parents/guardians by the building principal.
 
How long is each test?

In the chart below, the times are presented by grade level and by subject areas.

English Language Arts

 ELA*  Unit 1  Unit 2  Unit 3  Total Time
 Grade 3  90 minutes  75 minutes  90 minutes  4.25 hours
 Grade 4-5  90 minutes  90 minutes  90 minutes  4.5 hours
 Grade 6-11  110 minutes  110 minutes  90 minutes  5 hours and 10 minutes
 

Mathematics

 Math  Unit 1  Unit 2  Unit 3  Unit 4  Total Time
 Grade 3-5  60 minutes  60 minutes  60 minutes  60 minutes  4 hours
 Grade 6-8  80 minutes  80 minutes  80 minutes  N/A  4 hours
 Algebra I,
 Geometry &
 Algebra II 
 90 minutes  90 minutes  90 minutes  N/A  4.5 hours
 
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Will my child who has an IEP receive accommodations?
 
Yes. Students with IEP’s, 504 plans, and who are English Language Learners can receive PARCC accommodations.  In addition, all students are entitled to PARCC accessibility features. 
 
This link details both PARCC accommodations and accessibility features: PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual
 
This link will provide a tutorial of some of the accessibility and accommodations for the PARCC assessments: http://parcc.pearson.com/tutorial/ 
 
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Will my child who has a 504 Plan receive accommodations?

Yes. Students with 504 plans ,IEP’s, and who are English Language Learners can receive PARCC accommodations.  In addition, all students are entitled to PARCC accessibility features. 

This link details both PARCC accommodations and accessibility features: PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual

This link provides a tutorial of some of the accessibility and accommodations for the PARCC assessments: http://parcc.pearson.com/tutorial/

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Will my child still have to take NJASK?

The PARCC has replaced the NJASK for Language Arts and Mathematics, however students in grades 4 and 8 will still take the NJASK Science test.  The NJASK Science Grade 4 and 8 test will be administered on May 31, 2017. 

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Who are the high school students who are required to take the PARCC Mathematics Assessments?

All high school students, irrespective of grade level and previous PARCC test history, who are currently enrolled in an Algebra I, Geometry, or Algebra II course, must take the PARCC assessment for that course. (This includes high school students who previously took the Algebra I or Geometry assessment in middle school and are repeating the course). High school students not currently enrolled in a requisite mathematics course will not take a PARCC mathematics assessment at this time.

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What if my child is enrolled in multiple mathematics courses?

Students who are enrolled in multiple mathematics courses during the regular school year (i.e. Algebra I and Geometry or Geometry and Algebra II), will take only one PARCC mathematics assessment, either Algebra I or Algebra II.

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What if my child is enrolled in a two-year middle school mathematics course?
 
Middle School students enrolled in a two-year Algebra I course or a two-yea Geometry course must take their grade level mathematics PARCC assessment in the first year of the course (i.e. grade seven or grade eight mathematics) AND then the PARCC end-of course assessment associated with that course in the second year of the course (i.e. Algebra I or Geometry).
 
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Will PARCC be a graduation requirement?

Please visit the NJ Department of Education website to view the graduation requirements established for the classes of 2017-19, 2020 and 2021 & beyond. 

Once a student has met the graduation requirement by passing a PARCC assessment in both language arts and math, is it necessary to continue to take PARCC assessments in subsequent school years?
 
Yes, students are required to take the PARCC tests even after meeting the graduation requirement. The graduation requirement is just one purpose for standardized testing. The NJ Department of Education requires ALL students to take the PARCC tests in English Language Arts (ELA) Grades 9-11, and Algebra I, II, and Geometry during their high school years. State statute requires all public schools to test students annually in these courses to determine student progress in literacy and computation skills. The PARCC results will help schools drive curriculum and instruction, so we can identify any gaps and ensure that students graduate fully prepared for college and careers. In summary, even after meeting the graduation requirement, students will still be taking the PARCC tests if they are enrolled in one of the above mentioned courses. 
 
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Why does the State require students to take a standardized test?

In 1975, New Jersey passed the Public School Education Act, requiring schools to give students a thorough and efficient education. In 1978, the Minimum Basic Skills test was given in grades 3, 6 and 9 to assess if students were being adequately educated. Passing this test became a requirement for graduation beginning in 1983.  

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Does the testing have anything to do with No Child Left Behind?

In 2001, NCLB required schools with students in grades three through twelve to demonstrate annual yearly progress (AYP), and required 95% of students to be tested. Doing so was tied to federal funding.

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Can I Opt-Out my child from the PARCC assessments?

New Jersey does not currently have an opt-out policy. Students are expected to participate in state assessment programs, as per the provisions under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.), and as advised by the Executive County Superintendent's Office.

However, if you decide to refuse the PARCC assessments for your child, it will not result in disciplinary action by the District, but may jeopardize a student’s ability to fulfill all New Jersey Department of Education requirements for graduation (see "Graduation Testing Requirements for the State of New Jersey" posted above).

Students refusing to test must be coded and reported as such, per the State-issued test administrator’s manual. Parents who wish to have their child/children refuse to test must inform the principal, via writing, of this refusal to test. Students refusing to test may sit quietly and read during testing.
 
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What is the impact of test refusal on a school/district?

The recently reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which is now the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), continues to require each state that receives funding under Title I, Part A to implement a high-quality academic assessment system and that all children in tested grades participate. In particular it requires schools with students in grades three through twelve to demonstrate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). In order to make AYP, a school must ensure that assessments have been taken by at least ninety-five percent (95%) of enrolled students in each subgroup, i.e., special education, English language learners, low income, race/ethnicity. Federal funding of key education programs is dependent upon districts meeting this requirement. The ESSA does not preempt a state or local law regarding the decision of a parent to not have their child participate in the assessments. However, that child is still counted against the 95% participation rate requirement.

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Are schools required to offer alternative instruction if my child does not participate in testing?

No, since the PARCC assessment is part of the required educational program, schools are not required to provide an alternative educational program.
 
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Will PARCC scores be included on students' permanent records?  Will scores be added to transcripts?
 
No, scores will not be recorded on transcripts at this time. We don't know if the requirements will change in the future, but the District has no plans to include the scores and will do so only if and when it is required by the NJ DOE.

Scores have to be reported to NJ SMART, which tracks every student's standardized test scores, beginning with the 3rd grade NJ ASK through the old HSPA for grade 11. This has already been occurring for numerous years.
 
 
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