State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge and Gov. Nathan Deal announced last week that Georgia is withdrawing from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test development consortium.
Instead, the Georgia Department of Education 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,” 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.
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.
Barge also expressed concerns about 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, 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 third through eighth grades 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
• 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,” Barge said. “We look forward to continuing to work with them to develop a new assessment system for our state.”