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Obama’s Home State Dumps Common Core Tests

President Obama’s home state of Illinois is abandoning the Common Core-aligned PARCC test for high school students.

The state will instead assess eleventh graders with an SAT college entrance exam beginning next spring, and will provide funding for the SAT exams.

The PARCC math and English Language Arts tests – products of one of the two federally funded test consortia that developed assessments aligned with the highly unpopular Common Core state standards – were administered twice in Illinois. Both times, however, many students opted out of taking the test, and scores from those who did take them were poor, reports Tribune News Service.

The Illinois State Board of Education says third through eighth-graders will still take the PARCC tests, though many parents continue to object to them. The decision to end PARCC for high schoolers was based on school administrators’ statements that preparing for the tests took too much instruction time away from teachers and students at a time when high schoolers were facing too many other tests during the spring semester.

“There was no element of skin in the game for the kids — they didn’t know why they had to take the exam,” said Argo Community High School District 217 Superintendent Kevin O’Mara. “It threw off our whole spring calendar.”

Roger Eddy, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Boards, supports the elimination of the PARCC test for high schoolers.

“I think it’s important that if we’re looking at assessments, we should eliminate duplication,” Eddy said. “We assess and assess and assess, and you’ve got to remember that sometimes we have to teach kids.”

He added that the SAT is a more meaningful exam since its scores are used for students who apply to college.

Federal law requires that students be tested in reading, math, and science at least once in high school. Illinois high schoolers will still take a science exam.

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