A subcontractor tapped to help design new tests for Common Core standards has pulled out. Officials leading the transition to the new standards were concerned ACT Inc. was designing its own tests and had a conflict of interest.
Even though it involves only a small subcontract, the move by the Iowa-based test-maker, and the questions from the state assessment consortium that propelled it, have set off ripples of reaction and reflection in the insular educational testing industry. That industry is reshaping itself in response to the unprecedented project by two big groups of states to create new tests for the Common Core State Standards, using $360 million in federal Race to the Top money.
The discussions offer a glimpse into some of the thorny issues that crop up as the two gargantuan assessment projects move forward. How does each group manage intellectual-property concerns and potentially competing interests when 20-plus states and hundreds of players are involved? Even as those questions elude easy answers, the stakes are bigger than ever.