The vast majority of New Jersey students took part in the performance-based assessment portion of the PARCC standardized tests in March, according to preliminary numbers reported by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE).

In elementary grades 3-8, about 4.6 percent of New Jersey students did not take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams because of parental refusal. At the younger end of the elementary grades, 3-6, the average was even lower, with only 3.8 percent of students sitting out the tests.

High School Levels Higher At the high school level, the movement to encourage test refusals and some other factors combined to raise the refusal rate. As expected, high school administration of the exam was more challenging, because it was known that passing the test was not required this year for high school graduation. For example, on the ninth-grade language arts and algebra tests, the state saw approximately 7 percent parental refusal. In grade 11 language arts and algebra II, the combined parental refusal rate was approximately 14.5 percent – the highest among all grade levels.

The official calculation of the state’s participation rate, according to federal guidelines, will take place after the end-of-year portion of the PARCC exams is administered. Those tests are slated to be given in May.

More than 98 percent of the state’s schools administered the PARCC exams on computers, the highest rate among all states administering the test, according to NJDOE.

In the area of technology, state officials said the tests went largely smoothly. A small number of technology issues emerged from some districts, related to server configurations, viruses, malware and specific test administration. Other than an issue with the call-in center the first week, however, which was resolved within a few hours, technology issues tended to be localized and corrected fairly rapidly.