BERNARDS TWP., NJ - By mid-November, Bernards Township schools are expecting to receive the results of the first year of PARCC testing administered in township schools and statewide in 2015, with parents and students to receive results shortly afterward, the Board of Education was told on Monday night.

The PARCC tests -- which replaced the NJ ASK and other previous state standardized tests -- were administered for the first time last spring to students in grades 3-11. Last year's seniors did not take the test.

The state anticipates receiving the results on Oct. 23, Board Member Karen Richman reported at Monday's public school board meeting.

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The Bernards school districts likely will receive those results by mid-November, and it could possibly be December when families will learn how their individual students performed, Richman said.

PARCC tests not part of students' grades

The results of the PARCC tests -- which came in for much criticism in Bernards Township and elsewhere -- will not count towards students' grades, Richman said.

The test scores are in general expected to be lower than the NJ ASK scores, Richman told the board, adding that a drop in test scores is not uncommon when a new standardized test is implemented.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) -- which is also used by some other states around the country -- was criticized by parents around New Jersey, including many in Basking Ridge.

Some of the main reasons the test was opposed by parents -- as well as some student speakers at school board meetings last year -- included the need for teachers to spend classroom time preparing students for the computer based tests and complaints that the test itself was confusing. Some parents refused to allow their students to take the test.

Then, when the tests were first rolled out in March, delayed school openings due to snow and a vehicle accident on local roads only threw other monkey wrenches into the process. Juggling student schedules to take was another challenge. Parents approached the board with complaints of "chaos" and other snafus at Ridge High School.

State advocates of the test said it would give more specific results than previous state standized tests.

Richman added on Monday night that the state hasn't released yet what requirements this year's seniors will need to graduate -- whether that includes passing the PARCC tests, or some alternative test such as the SAT (Student Aptitude Test).