PARCC's future remains uncertain in Florida
As Florida continues to press toward full implementation of the Common Core State Standards, state education leaders remain undecided as to whether they'll stick with plans to administer the PARCC tests for which the state has served as fiscal agent.
Education commissioner Tony Bennett told superintendents during a July 3 conference call that he has not settled upon which of several testing options he will recommend. From the department's conference call notes, delivered to superintendents late last week:
Martin County Schools: Is it true that Florida will not be using PARCC?
Commissioner Bennett: We have to evaluate PARCC. We have not made a definite decision. We will evaluate PARCC, ACT Aspire, Kentucky’s assessment, Oklahoma’s RFP for 2014-2015, the ACT and the SAT. We presented six non-negotiables to SBOE and we will evaluate all tests through those lenses. We hope that PARCC is the right assessment, but don’t want to say that we are locked in.
Those six non-negotiables Bennett referred to are testing specifications comparable to FCAT, testing that supports Florida's accountability system, timely and informative reports, technology that is close to current specifications but with a paper-pencil option, testing that fits the state's timeline and a test design that includes interim assessments. Bennett presented these to the State Board of Education in April.
Bennett stressed that the overarching plan to morph into the new system isn't wavering. Also from the notes:
Martin County Schools: Will you be keeping the same timeline and will FCAT go away?
Commissioner Bennett: Absolutely.
Bennett has said he plans to create a committee to advise him on the transition away from FCAT to a new Common Core-centered accountability model. He has yet to take that step, lately focusing instead on superintendent complaints about school grading. The State Board is scheduled to handle those issues on Tuesday. Stay tuned.