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Illinois in Federal Hot Water Over High School Testing

When Illinois' state board of education voted to dump its high school PARCC test last week, board members said at the time they were responding to concerns from parents, administrators, and unions that the state administers too many tests. 

But Chicago Tribune reporter Diane Rado may have found another reason to get rid of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. According to the Tribune, the U.S. Department of Education is on the state department's back for the way the state administered high school exams in 2015 and 2016. The state administered a variety of exams and, in some instances, didn't administer any test to students with limited English and with special needs. 

In April, the Education Department placed Illinois' eligibility for Title I funds on "high-risk" status for not, as the federal law requires, administering one exam at least once to its high school students in English and math.  

Not complying with the law puts at risk millions of poverty-related federal dollars the state receives. 

In response to a national testing opt-out movement, several state education departments have taken to trimming the amount of standardized testing their states administer. Arizona this year passed a law that allows districts to choose which test to take. It's not clear whether the department will allow for that state's strategy.  

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