Field Memos from the Commissioner

In this field Memo, then Commissioner Deborah Gist affirms that students have the right to refuse state testing:

August 14 2015 Field Memo : ” As we prepare to communicate with educators and with families regarding PARCC results, it is important to remind everyone that these are new assessments. The PARCC assessments are based on higher learning standards than we have ever had before, and the assessment results will set a new baseline for us and for all states in the PARCC consortium. The performance levels that students achieve will be different from the performance levels on prior assessments, and the results will not be precisely comparable.

We will be transparent about the results that we release, and we will communicate to all what the data show and what the caveats may be – for example, to what degree did participation rates
affect results? We will also encourage everyone to be cautious about the use of the scores, especially in the first year of PARCC.
As I said to the members of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education at their meeting on Tuesday, we will need to make decisions that are fair to students, teachers, families, communities, and schools, particularly regarding the potential use of scores for graduation requirements. We will learn a lot from this first year of PARCC assessments, and that learning has to inform any decision s we will make, particularly around graduation requirements.”

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