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Key Decisions Made to Ensure Creation of Innovative and Sustainable Next Generation Assessments
WASHINGTON, D.C. June 30, 2011 - The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Governing Board met in Washington D.C. on June 24, 2011. The Governing Board is comprised of the K-12 chief state school officers from the 15Governing States, and meets quarterly to make major policy and operational decisions on behalf of all PARCC states, including decisions related to the overall design of the assessment system, PARCC’s procurement strategy, and other significant issues.
The June 2011 Governing Board meeting was preceded by a day-long meeting of the PARCC K-12 Leadership Team, which consists of the primary PARCC contact(s) in each of the Governing States.
Among the major decisions made and topics discussed were:
The PARCC By-laws: The Governing Board discussed and approved the PARCC by-laws which govern, among other things, the organization of the consortium and the decision-making structure.
PARCC Progress toward Major Milestones: The Governing Board reviewed the status of PARCC’s progress towards meeting major project milestones.
PARCC Assessment Design: The Governing Board approved refinements to the original design proposed by PARCC. These refinements are intended to strengthen the original design in a way that meets the consortium’s goals, including signaling the sorts of instructional priorities and changes necessary to ensure all students graduate from high school college- and career- ready. The refinements, while true to the original design’s goals, were viewed by the Governing Board as an improvement. Consistent with the terms of PARCC’s cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the revisions must be approved by ED officials.
Mitchell Chester, Chair of the Governing Board and Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education in Massachusetts, outlined the design refinements in a letter to the chief state school officers that are a part of the PARCC consortium. A copy of that letter can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/PARCCletter62411. The revisions, based on feedback from PARCC states, would create two summative assessment components that could be used for accountability purposes as well as two optional assessment components that would provide vital information about student performance and progress throughout the year.
PARCC Procurement: The PARCC Governing Board discussed possible approaches for structuring and developing the PARCC procurement for operational assessments. Based on the Board’s approval of refinements to the PARCC design, procurements are under development and are expected to be released in the fall, per the previously established schedule.
Transitioning to Computer Based Assessments: The Governing Board discussed progress towards a technology readiness audit tool that PARCC and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) are working collaboratively to develop. Board members underscored the importance of communicating clearly and broadly with school and district leaders about this tool once it is available, strategies for helping districts respond to the results of the readiness audit, and for sharing PARCC’s early guidance on technology specifications for the PARCC assessments.
The PARCC Governing Board will next meet on September 22, 2011.
PARCC is an alliance of states working together to develop common assessments serving nearly 25 million students. PARCC’s work is funded through a four-year, $185 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Partners include about 200 higher education institutions and systems representing hundreds of campuses across the country that will help develop the high school component of the new assessment — and then put it to good use as an indicator of student readiness. PARCC is led by its member states and managed by Achieve, a nonprofit group with a 15-year track record of working with states to improve student achievement by aligning K-12 education policies with the expectations of employers and the postsecondary community. PARCC’s ultimate goal is to make sure all students graduate from high school college- and career-ready.