FAIRFIELD - Students across southwestern Connecticut are preparing to take a new state-mandated standardized test Tuesday, but some parents say not their kids.
This is the first year that students in third through eighth grade, as well as 11th grade, will take the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test in place of the Connecticut Mastery Test. According to the Smarter Balanced website, it was "awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop an assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards by the 2014-2015 school year."
At Fairfield Ludlowe High School on Monday, some parents expressed doubt that the Common Core curriculum would accurately measure what their children have learned. They believe new math and language arts tests that align with the curriculum were hastily developed.
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Parents of younger children expressed similar concerns. Jennifer Jacobsen, who has a seventh-grader and two fifth-graders, says her children won't be taking the tests.
"The Common Core is actually not a curriculum. It's actually a set of expectations," says parent Maria Naughton. "They're taking a subject like math and they're measuring kids on how well they can talk about math as opposed to how well they can calculate," she says.
Naughton, whose eighth-grader attends a New Canaan public school, says her child will also opt out of the test.
Both parents say they have taken practice tests on the state's website, and they feel that the questions are based on material that their children have yet to learn.
The state allows parents to have their children opt out of the test, but school officials say a district must have 95 percent of its students take the test.
In Fairfield, Superintendent David Title sent a letter to parents about the test. He says only about 10 students won't be taking the test; those students will be marked present in class and can use the time to do their homework or study.
Last year, students participated in a pilot program using the tests. This is also the first year that students will take the tests on computers, and parents say they are concerned that this will make it easier for anyone to access their children's information and test results.