Nearly 1 in 10 students opt out of PARCC exams in Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com
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Nearly 1 in 10 students opt out of PARCC exams in Steamboat

Testing refusals by school:

Strawberry Park Elementary -- 5

Soda Creek Elementary -- 11

Steamboat Springs Middle School -- 13

Steamboat Springs High School — 137 (9th, 9; 10th, 19; 11th, 77; 12th, 32)

North Routt Community Charter School — 2

— Nearly 10 percent of Steamboat Springs School District students opted out of the first portion of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers exams, which wrapped up in the district last week.

The district initially reported that only 32 students were refusing to test when exams began in mid-March, but by the time testing was in full swing, 168 students were refusing, according to district data.

Testing refusals by school:

Strawberry Park Elementary — 5



Soda Creek Elementary — 11

Steamboat Springs Middle School — 13



Steamboat Springs High School — 137 (9th, 9; 10th, 19; 11th, 77; 12th, 32)

North Routt Community Charter School — 2

Most of the additional opt-outs were students at Steamboat Springs High School, where 137 students ultimately refused to test.

Superintendent Brad Meeks said he didn’t know the reasons for each refusal but said many of the high school students still attended their regular classes and spent time preparing for Advanced Placement exams rather than taking the PARCC exams.

“We heard students who were choosing to refuse to take the test were taking AP classes, and they wanted to spend their time focusing on their AP class and their AP exam that’s in May, versus time doing their PARCC tests as well,” Meeks said.

Meeks said he could only speculate that some of the 32 seniors who refused to test may have had trouble determining the relevance of the test to them, especially if they’d already been accepted to college.

Other students and their families may have been influenced to opt out because of the high number of PARCC refusals elsewhere in the state, Meeks said.

Testing has been a hot topic in the Colorado legislature this year, with nine bills introduced that would reduce testing or eliminate penalties for districts where parents opt their children out of testing.

Steamboat was one of 25 districts across the state to request a waiver from the Colorado Department of Education for the first portion of PARCC exams.

Though the Colorado State Board of Education voted to allow districts to seek the waiver, the Colorado Attorney General said those waivers couldn’t legally be granted.

The State Board of Education also voted in February to not hold district’s accountable if test participation drops below required levels because of refusals –- for PARCC this is 95 percent participation.

Steamboat’s 168 refusals out of 1,779 students who were supposed to take the exams equates to a participation rate of 90.6 percent.

The district normally has a 98 to 99 percent participation rate, Meeks said.

“Probably people were noticing what was happening across the state — that might have caused some increase,” Meeks said.

The second portion of PARCC exams is scheduled to take place in the district in May.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow


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