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Washington, D.C. - July 29, 2013 - Fourteen states and the District of Columbia announced today they are committed to field testing the next-generation PARCC assessments in the upcoming 2013-14 school year, a key step in building a high-quality assessment system that will be rolled out broadly in schools during the following academic year.
PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) is a group of states working together to develop computer-based 21st century tests that are aligned to the more rigorous Common Core State Standards. The new tests also will measure deeper-learning, critical-thinking, writing and problem-solving skills, which are essential to college and career success.
The states participating in the field tests are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee.
"We have a very strong core of states who are committed to PARCC for the long haul," Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester told reporters during a conference call in which commissioners of education from several PARCC states announced the field testing.;Field testing will help PARCC create strong assessments with high-quality questions that are free of bias and challenge students working at all performance levels. Accommodations will also be employed and studied through the field test.
Added Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman, "These are assessments that are going to match the level of rigor of the Common Core State Standards."
Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah A. Gist said PARCC assessments would be tests worth taking. "Quality has been the key issue for us from the very beginning," Gist said. "We weren't interested in moving to another assessment unless there was going to be a tremendous focus on quality."
PARCC has formally amended its grant for Race to the Top funding to fully operate as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with its own funding, board of directors, staff and programs. The state consortium began as a collaborative of states working together, with support from the non-profit Achieve, which has served as project management partner; this change to an independent 501 (c) (3) will give PARCC the long-term sustainable architecture to support states in the operations of the assessment system and to continue strengthening the assessment system through research, item development and other tasks.
"PARCC is really developed by the states for the states," Colorado Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond said during Monday's call with reporters. "The bottom line is we're working together to create the highest quality assessments in the history of American public education."
The state chiefs noted that by working together PARCC was keeping quality up and costs down. Added Hanna Skandera, Secretary of Education for New Mexico, "We believe in having the best of the best for our kids. We are stronger together than we are as individuals."
PARCC also announced progress on several key fronts:
For more information, visit http://www.parcconline.org.