Students who opted out of PARCC cost N.J. more than $1M, state says
TRENTON -- An enthusiastic testing "opt-out" movement, fueled in part by the state's largest teachers union, cost New Jersey taxpayers more than $1 million in 2015, according to the state Department of Education.
New Jersey paid testing giant Pearson $1.4 million for tests not taken in the first year of the PARCC exams because it overestimated the number of students who would take the math and English tests by nearly 60,000 students, state auditor Stephen Ells found in a report released this week.
The education department said in a written response to the audit that the estimated number of students taking PARCC was based on previous years of testing. It attributed the million-dollar mishap largely to parents who held their children out of testing.
"An unforeseeable number of parent refusals reduced the number of test-takers, accounting for the disparity in the estimated number of tests and the number of tests actually taken," Assistant Education Commissioner Karin Garver wrote to Ells.
Because New Jersey's estimate was not within 2 percent of the actual number of students who took the tests, it was contractually obligated to pay for the number of tests it originally ordered, according to the department's response to the audit report.
PARCC tests were supposed to cost New Jersey about $25.50 per student, the Department of Education said in 2015. The state paid Pearson a total of $20.8 million for the first year of tests for grades 3-11, called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams.
In the months leading up the computerized exams, parent groups and the state's Students who opted out of PARCC cost N.J. more than $1M, state says | NJ.com: