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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

PARCC: 'We are on track' to meet testing deadlines

As the deadline for Common Core implementation nears, several states including Florida are hedging their bets as to whether all the pieces will be ready on time.

Florida lawmakers adopted legislation mandating that the PARCC testing associated with the Common Core cannot take effect until all schools have the technological capacity to handle the load. Education commissioner Tony Bennett, meanwhile, has begun preparing a "Plan B" test to bridge the gap between FCAT and PARCC, just in case.

Over the weekend, Indiana's governor signed into law a measure preventing that state from moving ahead with Common Core until its board of education can complete a "comprehensive evaluation" of the standards. Alabama has walked away from the testing consortia.

A new Common Core-focused blog, launched recently by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, addresses such concerns directly in an interview with PARCC officials. They say that while they respect the states' choices, they'll be ready. Two excerpts:

Do states have the devices and bandwidth to deliver your on-line assessments?

States and local school systems are in various states of technology readiness. Some already are conducting online assessments and will be able to easily make the switch to PARCC when the time comes. Others still are making the necessary investments in infrastructure and devices over the next year or so, and many see PARCC as the vehicle to help make the upgrades they’ve wanted all along in order to improve classroom instruction. For school systems that can’t get there in time, we’ll have a backup pencil-and-paper option available. ...

How concerned are you by Alabama’s decision to abandon the testing consortia and Florida chief Tony Bennett’s public statement that he’s looking for a “Plan B?”

Every state needs to make its own decisions. We respect Alabama’s position. But the consortium remains strong. Our member states’ first choice is a state-developed test like PARCC. Commissioner Bennett in Florida is simply being a responsible chief who is planning for every possible eventuality. Our job is to make sure that PARCC remains “Plan A” for Florida and every other member state. We are on track to deliver the assessment on time, and look forward to working with our member states to implement it.


[Last modified: Monday, May 13, 2013 11:56am]


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