While about 320,000 public school students will take Common Core tests starting Monday, they will also face a second round of the exams May 4-8, state officials said Wednesday.
The second phase, like the questions next week, will focus on what students know about math, reading and writing.
Common Core and its assessments have been a hot topic of debate for the past 18 months, and the tests had to overcome a court challenge from Gov. Bobby Jindal before they won final clearance.
Students in grades three through eight will take the tests March 16-20, with the second phase in May.
Controversy has erupted in recent weeks over plans by some students to skip the exams, and the fact that doing so could hurt school performance scores.
Officials of the state Department of Education said they would not answer questions Wednesday on opt out efforts.
The agency plans to provide daily updates on the tests starting Monday, including participation rates.
A total of 49 students out of about 13,000 test takers plan to skip the test in the Lafayette Parish School District, officials said Tuesday.
Jessica Baghian, assistant state superintendent for assessments and accountability, said results of the exams will be available in the fall.
The scores can then be compared with students in 10 other states and the District of Columbia that make up the testing consortium, which is called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.
Baghian said that, unlike previous years, students will grapple with either math or English questions each day, but not both.
The tests will last up to 90 minutes, be given early in the day and students will then resume routine coursework.
“In the past, the assessment was often a significant portion of the day,” she said.
In another change, all students will have access to a wide range of accommodations, including noise buffers, stress balls and individual testing.
In addition, 932 Spanish translation math exams have been ordered.
Next week’s tests include three English language and two math sessions.
Students will use pencils rather than computers after initial plans to require computers for some students were delayed a year amid worries.
The tests in May will include one English language session for grades three through five, two English language sessions for grades six through eight and two math sessions.
That phase of PARCC tests will cover four days.
A judge in the 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge in August issued an injunction to lift the Jindal administration’s suspension of two state test contracts needed for next week’s exams.
The ruling is being appealed.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, in a prepared statement, said Wednesday that if the department is using those contracts “it may be in violation of state procurement laws and its vendors could be required to return any payments made for those services.”
Over two million students in PARCC states have taken the exams, officials of the group announced Wednesday.
Students in Louisiana, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are about to do so.