Indiana

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Why Indiana Is Scaling Back Participation In Common Core Testing Consortia PARCC

Superintendent Glenda Ritz addresses the Indiana Youth Institute’s Postsecondary Counseling Institute.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Superintendent Glenda Ritz says Indiana will scale back its participation in the PARCC assessment consortium after state lawmakers voted to pause implementation of the Common Core.

We dropped by the PARCC governing board meeting in Washington, D.C. — you know, just happened to be in the neighborhood — and noticed an absence: Indiana.

State education officials didn’t participate in talks Wednesday to set performance expectations on new standardized tests aligned to a set of nationally-crafted academic standards known as the Common Core.

As a governing state in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, Indiana gets a seat at the table. But no one from the Department of Education has attended a PARCC governing board meeting since Superintendent Glenda Ritz took office in January.

That tracks with what Ritz told StateImpact last week about participation in PARCC and Smarter Balanced, the other consortium writing tests for the Common Core.

“We will not be participating in consortiums that decide for us the cost of the test, the questions on the test, the cutoffs,” she says. “Indiana will be doing that on its own.”

Ritz says her office scaled back involvement in the PARCC consortium after state lawmakers voted to pause rollout of the Common Core pending a legislative review. HB 1427 also bars the State Board of Education from ceding control of standards or assessments to outside entities.

This spring Ritz expressed an interest in also joining Smarter Balanced so Indiana could go with whichever consortia designed a better assessment. That’s what North Dakota is doing.

Another option would be for Indiana to give up its vote as a PARCC governing state but continue to participate in the consortium. Two states — Kentucky and North Dakota — don’t vote but can attend the quarterly meetings and ask questions. Pennsylvania was participating in both consortia but withdrew from both last week.

Indiana education officials could also attend governing board meetings but abstain from voting, says Chad Colby, a spokesman for Achieve, the education non-profit that helped develop the Common Core.

The PARCC governing board voted Wednesday to set grade-level performance expectations. They’ll be released to the public July 17.

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