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Can’t a guy just go to lunch these days without his reporting colleague scribbling all over the map of the United States he just freehand-doodled on a white board? You know, seriously?
Seriously, these aren’t just scribbles. Elle overlaid — quite literally — a rough sketch of which states participate in the two principal groups developing standardized tests to pair with nationally-crafted Common Core academic standards.
I say “rough sketch” because, let’s be honest, Arizona doesn’t look like that. But it’s also a rough sketch because you need far more than three colors of white board marker to tell the full story of the states’ collaborations to build both the PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests.The story isn’t only complex because of Indiana’s recent “pausing” of both the Common Core’s implementation and the state’s participation in the PARCC consortium. (Though state officials have stopped attending governing board meetings, Indiana hasn’t officially left the group, so Elle still colored them blue.)
Explaining to me why she mixed her work with my work of art, Elle broke it down like this:
- 20 states and the District of Columbia participate in PARCC: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Dakota*, Oklahoma**
- 24 states participate in Smarter Balanced: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, Hawai’i, North Dakota*, Alaska***
- * North Dakota participates in both PARCC and Smarter Balanced.
- ** Oklahoma announced this week it will develop its own exams but keep its seat in the PARCC consortium.
- *** Alaska has not adopted the Common Core, but recently joined Smarter Balanced as an “advisory state.”
- Utah withdrew from Smarter Balanced last year — it was the first to leave one of the testing consortia.
- Pennsylvania used to be in both but opted out last month.
- Alabama used to be in both but has adopted an ACT-aligned test instead.
- Minnesota only adopted the Common Core’s reading standards and isn’t participating in a testing consortia.
- Texas, Virginia and Nebraska didn’t adopt the Common Core.
We track this not just because we’re geeky, but because — aside from the huge ramifications to the development of the tests — the number of states in the consortia matters. From EdWeek:
The groups are mindful that in order to protect the $360 million in federal funding they won, they each need to have at least 15 member states. With 24 in SBAC and  in PARCC right now, that doesn’t seem to be a looming issue. But if enough states get skittish and drop out, federal officials could—according to their own regulations—cut off the funding that is meant to carry the consortia’s work through the fall of 2014.
CORRECTION, July 8, 4 p.m. ET: Thank goodness we did this on a white board… An earlier version of our doodle showed Alaska written in blue, which would signify that state was part of the PARCC consortium. As the text of the post notes, Alaska is a Smarter Balanced state. Thanks to the astute reader who pointed that out — and thank goodness for dry erase markers. We’ve corrected the map.