State with­draws from test de­vel­op­ment con­sor­tium

The Covington News - - SPORTS - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­news.com

Ge­or­gia has with­drawn from the Part­ner­ship for As­sess­ment of Readi­ness for Col­lege and Ca­reers (a test de­vel­op­ment con­sor­tium), a move that state of­fi­cials at­trib­uted to the costs of ad­min­is­ter­ing the stan­dard­ized tests.

State School Su­per­in­ten­dent John Barge and Gov. Nathan Deal an­nounced last week that the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion will in­stead work with ed- uca­tors across the state to cre­ate stan­dard­ized tests to meet its cur­rent aca­demic stan­dards.

Ge­or­gia was one of 22 states that joined the PARCC sev­eral years ago, with a goal of de­vel­op­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of stu­dent as­sess­ments in math and English lan­guage arts by the start of the 2014-15 school year, GaDOE spokesman Matt Car­doza said in a news re­lease.

How­ever, the state de­cided to with­draw from the PARCC be­cause of cost con­cerns.

Based on the num­ber of stu­dents in grades 3-8 who took Cri­te­rion-Ref­er­enced Com­pe­tency Tests in 2012, ad­min­is­ter­ing the con­sor­tium’s math, read­ing and writ­ing tests would cost Ge­or­gia about $27.5 mil­lion, more than the statewide K-12 as­sess­ment bud­get of $25 mil­lion, which in­cludes ad­vanced place­ment tests for low-in­come stu­dents and ESL test­ing, Barge said.

“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. “Ge­or­gia can cre­ate an equally rig­or­ous mea­sure­ment with­out the high costs as­so­ci­ated with this par­tic­u­lar test.”

State school of­fi­cials noted that cre­at­ing tests in Ge­or­gia will al­low the state to main­tain con­trol over its aca­demic stan­dards and stu­dent test­ing, Car­doza said.

A com­mon as­sess­ment, which was be­ing de­vel­oped by PARCC, would have pre­vented the DOE from be­ing able to ad­just and re­write Ge­or­gia’s stan­dards when ed­u­ca­tors in­di­cate re­vi­sions are needed to best serve stu­dents.

New­ton County Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Sa­man­tha Fuhrey said as long as the new ver­sions of state as­sess­ments in­clude the rigor as­so­ci­ated with the Com­mon Core, NCSS stu­dents will be pre­pared to com­pete with their peers through­out the coun­try.

“The de­vel­op­ment of the new Ge­or­gia ex­ams fol­lows past prac­tice and al­lows for ed­u­ca­tor in­put and re­vi­sion when needed,” she said. “Mov­ing to Ge­or­gia’s ‘As­sess­ment Sys­tem’ and away from PARCC en­sures that our limited re­sources will be fo­cused on stu­dents’ learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Barge said state ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials will look to the Univer­sity Sys­tem of Ge­or­gia and the Tech­ni­cal Col­lege Sys­tem of Ge­or­gia for help in cre­at­ing the tests.

The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this re­port.

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