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March 29, 2014

new test spurs school concerns

(Continued)

“If you’re manufacturing automobiles, you don’t put a new car on the road without testing it thoroughly,” he said. “The last thing we want is for the state to adopt a new test and the first time a kid has to take it is when it counts.”

The new test is part of a shift to national educational benchmarks, known as the Common Core, which emphasize critical thinking, reasoning and problem solving. The standards are intended to prepare students for the demands of college and the workplace, state education officials said.

The practice exam comes just as many students in grades 3 to 8 – as well as 10th graders – finish the annual MCAS exam.

The new test will be given to students through the 11th grade in math and English language arts. Even if the state adopts the new PARCC tests, it may continue to use the MCAS science exam.

Tenth-graders will continue to take the MCAS, which they must pass to get a diploma, until the state Board of Education decides to replace it.

Bik, from Newburyport, said she understands that students taking both MCAS and PARCC tests this year have a lot on their plates.

“From a purely educational perspective, I would have preferred not have to do this amount of testing at one time,” she said. “But if this is the test that the state adopts, we’ll be prepared.”

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