The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this afternoon that Georgia has decided to pull out of PARCC.
In rejecting the test, Gov. Nathan Deal and Superintendent John Barge cited its cost, which could have been as high as $27 million — slightly more than the state’s entire K-12 testing budget.
Georgia will offer assessments developed by education officials in this state, who will continue working with their counterparts in the region toward the goal of offering a regional test.
“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,” Deal said in a joint statement with Barge released by the state Department of Education. “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.”
…Barge cited costs, technical concerns and fears that the test could limit the state’s flexibility in crafting its own curriculum as reasons for not offering the test, which was supposed to be given to Georgia students as soon as the 2014-2015 school year.
Update: Here’s an email that John Barge sent to school superintendents today:
Earlier today, I, along with Governor Deal and our State Board Chair, Barbara Hampton, advised the leadership of the PARCC Governing Board that the state of Georgia is withdrawing from the consortium and as such, we will not administer the PARCC assessments in 2014-2015. Georgia will be pursuing other options for developing our own state assessments in English language arts and math at the elementary, middle and high school levels. We will continue to work with Georgia educators, as we have in the past, to reconfigure and/or redevelop our state assessments to reflect the instructional focus and expectations inherent in our rigorous state standards in language arts and math. This is not a suspension of the implementation of the CCGPS in language arts and math.
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. Relative to assessment, our paramount goal is to deliver high-quality instruments. It is critical that these instruments provide key information about student learning and contribute to the ongoing work of improving the educational opportunities for each student.
The Georgia Department of Education estimates that several million dollars in savings will be realized, annually, by developing our own assessments. The cost estimates for PARCC will be released later today, and these costs far exceed what Georgia can afford.
As we have discussed the technology requirements for PARCC, we have realized that a majority of our districts are not ready for full-scale, online assessments across all grades. The state does not currently have the technology infrastructure or sufficient hardware to handle the test administration demands of PARCC, which include technology- enhanced test items.
While any new test Georgia develops will require greater capacity, allowing for online administration, we will be in the position to work with districts to establish the timeline. This is important, as many districts need greater bandwidth, improved connectivity, and more devices (i.e., hardware) to handle not only assessment administration but day to day instructional requirements.
Developing our own assessments also will allow Georgia to determine the amount of time our students spend testing. Based on current estimates, PARCC anticipates up to 10 hours of student engagement, through multiple test sessions conducted across two testing windows in language arts and mathematics alone. I am optimistic that Georgia’s tests will require significantly less time for these two content areas, within a single window, and still provide high-quality information about student learning.
Finally, and arguably the most important consideration, adopting the PARCC assessment would limit the ability of Georgia to make adjustments or changes to our standards as we see fit. If Georgia educators determine that certain standards need to be shifted or revised, we would run the risk of no longer being aligned with the PARCC assessment. Such misalignment would put our students at a disadvantage.
As we begin to build new assessments, please note that our Georgia assessments:
- will be aligned to the math and English language arts CCGPS;
- will be of 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 significantly less time to administer than the PARCC assessments;
- will be administered within a single testing window;
- 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.
I am confident that Georgia can use the information learned from our involvement in PARCC as we develop new tests. We are grateful to Georgia educators who have worked hard to help develop our standards and assessments. We look forward to continuing to work with them to develop a new assessment system for our state.
As we continue to prepare our students to be college and career ready by the time they graduate from high school, I believe this approach will benefit them greatly. As the work continues, I will keep you informed. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
John D. Barge, Ed.D.
State School Superintendent
Georgia Department of Education
2066 Twin Towers East
205 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE
Atlanta, GA 30334
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Also see School Reform News’ coverage.
Originally posted at FightCommonCore.com