The Georgia Department of Education has released a press release stating that they are pulling out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC ). PARCC is funded by a “$186 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top assessment competition to support the development and design of the next-generation assessment system” as stated on the PARCC website. Georgia’s decision to pull out of PARCC cited primarily their objections to the cost of the assessment. Georgia and Florida’s education administrators’ decision to pull out of the PARCC assessments will surely have an adverse impact on the viability of PARCC and may directly/indirectly affect the objectives of the Common Core. According to Massachusetts Education Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education and Chairman of PARCC, Mitchell Chester:
“I don’t think any single state is going to make or break the PARCC project. It doesn’t surprise me that there are states that are questioning their commitment.
Here is Georgia’s press release issued by the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) today:
“July 22, 2013 – State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge and Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Georgia is withdrawing from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test development consortium.
Instead, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) will work with educators across the state to create standardized tests aligned to Georgia’s current academic standards in mathematics and English language arts for elementary, middle and high school students. Additionally, Georgia will seek opportunities to collaborate with other states.
Creating the tests in Georgia will ensure that the state maintains control over its academic standards and student testing, whereas a common assessment would have prevented GaDOE from being able to adjust and rewrite Georgia’s standards when educators indicate revisions are needed to best serve students.
“After talking with district superintendents, administrators, teachers, parents, lawmakers and members of many communities, I believe this is the best decision for Georgia’s students, ” Superintendent Barge said. “We must ensure that our assessments provide educators with critical information about student learning and contribute to the work of improving educational opportunities for every student.”
Georgia was one of 22 states to join PARCC several years ago with the aim of developing next generation student assessments in mathematics and English language arts by 2014-15.
“Assessing our students’ academic performance remains a critical need to ensure that young Georgians can compete on equal footing with their peers throughout the country, ” Gov. Deal said. “Georgia can create an equally rigorous measurement without the high costs associated with this particular test. Just as we do in all other branches of state government, we can create better value for taxpayers while maintaining the same level of quality.”
Superintendent Barge was one of the state school chiefs serving on the governing board for the consortium, but he frequently voiced concerns about the cost of the PARCC assessments. The PARCC assessments in English language arts and math are estimated to cost significantly more money than Georgia currently spends on its entire testing program.
Superintendent Barge also expressed concerns over the technology requirements for PARCC’s online tests. Many Georgia school districts do not have the needed equipment or bandwidth to handle administering the PARCC assessments.
As GaDOE begins to build new assessments, please note that our Georgia assessments:
•will be aligned to the math and English language arts state standards;
•will be high-quality and rigorous;
•will be developed for students in grades 3 through 8 and high school;
•will be reviewed by Georgia teachers;
•will require less time to administer than the PARCC assessments;
•will be offered in both computer- and paper-based formats; and
•will include a variety of item types, such as performance-based and multiple-choice items.
“We are grateful to Georgia educators who have worked hard to help develop our standards and assessments, ” Superintendent Barge said. “We look forward to continuing to work with them to develop a new assessment system for our state.”
Currently, Georgia plays an important role in the PARCC. The PARCC’s website states the main players involved in Georgia’s previously planned implementation of the PARCC assessments:
“Superintendent John D. Barge serves on the Governing Board. Melissa Fincher, Associate Superintendent for Assessment and Accountability at the Georgia Department of Education, is the K-12 Lead for PARCC in Georgia. Ron Jackson, Commissioner at Technical College System of Georgia, serves on the PARCC Advisory Committee on College Readiness. Judith Monsaas, Executive Director of Assessment and Evaluation at the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, coordinates PARCC-related post secondary engagement activities in the state.
Georgia appears to have already deleted the PARCC webpage from the DOE’s website and is redirecting users to the homepage. However, I have managed to retrieve an archived copy of the deleted page here.
Image Credit/ Declaration: This is not an official PARCC map.