LAPS Superintendent Urges Students And Parents To Participate In PARCC Tests

By Dr. GENE SCHMIDT, SUPERINTENDENT
Los Alamos Public Schools
 
Open Letter to Students and Parents:

We have been made aware of campaigns on social media and other media sources encouraging students to participate in walkout protests of PARCC tests. Los Alamos Public Schools respect the rights of individuals to demonstrate as long as the demonstrations are safe, orderly, and respect the rights of their fellow students to participate in testing without being disrupted.

One of our Board non-negotiable goals is safe and civil campuses and we expect students who may choose to protest to leave the campus and not disrupt the educational environment.

So there is no confusion as we begin testing, we are sharing the following information regarding PARCC testing and why students should take the tests. The PARCC test is new this year and we understand that with anything new and challenging there are questions and concerns. There are several reasons why all students should participate in testing and do their best for themselves and their school:

The test is part of the New Mexico state graduation testing requirements. If a student does not participate in the PARCC testing, there is the potential that this failure to participate in testing could jeopardize their ability to obtain a high school diploma.

State law requires that a student pass a high school competency exam in order to earn a diploma. The PARCC and NMSBA serve this purpose in New Mexico. While there are “alternative demonstrations of competency” that can permit students to qualify for graduation, students must first exhaust their opportunities to pass the NMSBA and/or PARCC before alternative demonstrations of competency can be considered. Students who do not take the PARCC are passing up one of their very limited opportunities to take and earn a passing score on the test.

Taking the test now gives students the opportunity to become familiar with taking an online test and helps them to do better the next time they take it. This is similar to taking other standardized tests for entrance into the college or the military. Many students do better the second time they take such tests, which improves their scores and opportunities as they prepare to enter college or a career.

 Our students as a rule perform well on standardized tests, which is indicative of our students’ and teachers’ hard work. We are proud of our schools, our students and our reputation for excellence. The federal law governing testing requires that 95 percent of our students at each school participate in the assessment. Failure of any school to reach the 95 percent threshold causes the school’s rating to be dropped one letter grade.

We choose to believe our students will not distract others who are trying to focus on the test from doing their best during the test sessions.

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