TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New Jersey State Assembly voted Monday to curtail the use of a controversial standardized test in the state’s schools, following a litany of concerns from parents.

The bill bars the state Education Department from using the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, test as a way to determine students’ placement in advanced or gifted programs, beginning with the next school year and continuing through the next three school years.

It also prevents state officials from using the test as a graduation requirement.

The New Jersey state Senate also must vote on the bill, and if it is approved, Gov. Chris Christie must choose whether to sign or veto it. For the next immediate step, the bill will go before a state Senate committee to determine whether it should be expedited.

New Jersey education officials have defended and championed the tests, but they have excoriated by some parents who argue that teachers spend too much time preparing for them.

On Monday, a group of parents from Verona and Montclair in Essex County stepped into their children’s shoes on Monday to get a firsthand look at what students would be faced with in the PARCC test. CBS2’s Meg Baker joined them.

First, they experienced technical difficulties, finding themselves unable to get the PARCC test website to load.

And the fact that testing has gone digital represents a major change in and of itself. Students will have to maneuver drag and drop-down menus, and type essays rather than write them in longhand.

“In terms of the interface –- in terms of the page itself — I found it confusing from the onset,” said Eric Knudsen, the father of fourth-grade twin boys. “I had to read through it several times just to figure out what they are talking about.”

“I felt that the language in the test was extremely difficult for us to understand what they were asking for,” said Dr. Lela Weems, the mother of a second-grader and a fourth-grader.

New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe recently asked parents and teachers to give the test a chance.

“I’m saying these are going to be challenging tests, because nothing comes easy in life,” Hespe told CBS2. “Half of our students

But after reading a 22-paragraph story and going through the various styles of questioning, a woman named Beth and her daughter, who is in fifth grade – a grade above the level for which the test was intended – were anxious.

“I felt like crying, because everything on the page, I didn’t get it,” the girl said. “I didn’t know where to start.”

Sarah Blaine is primarily concerned because she said the assessment drives schools to focus just on mathematics and English.

“The thing that gets my kid fired up are the elective accounts. She loves music. She loves art. She would take art every cycle,” Blaine said. “But now she can’t.”

Beth said another daughter, a high school freshman, will not be taking the PARCC test at all.

“My ninth grader is all A’s; honors; perfect scores on NJAsk in the past. She’s not taking it,” Beth said. “This is a set up for failure.”

In Verona, even if parents refuse to have their children take the PARCC test, students must still sit in the testing room with a book. The parents have requested alternate instruction in its place.

Earlier this month, State Education Commissioner David Hespe said students will benefit from being challenged by the exams.

“I’m saying these are going to be challenging tests, because nothing comes easy in life,” Hespe told CBS2. “We estimate that hHalf of our students are currently graduating without the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in college or careers.

But after reading a 22-paragraph story and going through the various styles of questioning, a woman named Beth and her daughter named Wednesday, who is in fifth grade – a grade above the level for which the test was intended – were anxious.

“I felt like crying, because just like, everything on the page, I didn’t get it at all,” Wednesday said. “I didn’t even know where to start.”

Sarah Blaine is primarily concerned because she said the assessment drives schools to focus just on mathematics and English.

“The thing that gets my kid fired up are the elective accounts. She loves music. She loves art. She would take art every cycle,” Blaine said. “But now she can’t.”

Beth said another daughter, a high school freshman, will not be taking the PARCC test at all.

“My ninth grader is all A’s; honors. She has gotten perfect scores on NJAsk in the past. She is not taking it,” Beth said. “This is a setup for failure.”

In Verona, even if parents refused to have their children take the PARCC test, students were still ordered to sit in the testing room with a book. The parents have requested alternate instruction in its place.

The New Jersey Education Association is opposed to the PARCC test, saying it will also be used to evaluate English and math teachers and expressed concern that it could be used to punish them.

Hespe insisted the exams will not punish teachers – especially in those districts where student performance is low and only count as 10 percent of an evaluation.

“I think most teachers want to demonstrate that they are at the head of their class,” Hespe said.

The state was set to start the math and English proficiency tests in March.

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