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Online Common Core Testing Delayed in Louisiana

Dig-Computers-Classroom.jpgBy Catherine Gewertz. Cross-posted from the Curriclum Matters blog. 

Louisiana has abandoned plans to administer the PARCC assessments online this year, and will give the tests only on paper, according to news media reports.

According to the Times-Picayune, state Superintendent John White made the announcement on Friday. In addition to the paper-only announcement, White also said the English/language arts portion of the test for students in grades 3-8 would be shortened, and the testing window in a given day would be pared back as well.

Amid concerns about technological readiness for online testing, White had planned to have 3rd and 4th graders take the paper-based version of the test, but higher grades had the option of taking it online, according to the Times-Picayune. Friday's announcement expands the mandate for paper-based testing to all students in 3rd through 8th grade. High school students in Louisiana will still take the state's own tests, rather than the PARCC exams.

Louisiana, as you probably recall, has been embroiled in a major controversy about which tests to use. Gov. Bobby Jindal waged a fierce battle to dump the PARCC assessments, with White fighting to defend the tests.

The dispute tumbled into court, and a judge ultimately ruled that state education officials could stick with the PARCC tests if they chose to do so.

In announcing his decision to use only paper-based test this year, White said he wasn't as concerned about schools' technological capacity as about the "distraction" of moving to computer-based tests, according to the Associated Press. He said he wants teachers and students to be able to focus on the content of the standards that are being tested, rather than on using new technology.

The state will plans to move to computer-based testing for all students, but that plan is now on hold until the spring of 2016.

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