Local: Education

Md. gets waiver on federal sanctions over testing

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Local,Maryland,Education

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Students trying out a new standardized test this year won't have to take overlapping portions of a test already in use, the state announced Friday. The federal government has granted a waiver to avoid double-testing.

This does not exempt most students from taking the Maryland School Assessments this spring. The House and Senate are each considering bills right now that would cause the state to seek a separate waiver from all standardized testing requirements, on grounds that the current test no longer corresponds to the state's curricula.

Rather, the waiver announced Friday applies to students who are field-testing a new assessment called the PARCC, short for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

Maryland received this waiver on the condition that it administers the PARCC to all students next school year.

This year, one class in nearly every public school will take the PARCC's math or the reading section, said William Reinhard, spokesman for the state's education department.

Under the new waiver, students who take the PARCC math test won't need to take the math portion of the MSA, Reinhard said. The same applies for reading.

The No Child Left Behind Act requires yearly assessments in math and reading for students in third through eighth grades. Failing to run these tests can disqualify schools for huge amounts of funding. But the federal officials say they want to help states avoid double-testing.

The PARCC test corresponds to the new Common Core standards, which all but five states across the U.S. have now adopted. The test is the product of a collaboration between 18 states and Washington, D.C. The federal government gave $18 million to fund this project, according to the PARCC website.

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