Putting Education Reform To The Test

More States Concerned About Cost of Next Generation Test

Oklahoma and Georgia are worried about the cost of the PARCC exam. Florida is also considering using the online test.

401 (K) 2013 / Flickr

Oklahoma and Georgia are worried about the cost of the PARCC exam. Florida is also considering using the online test.

Two new states are backing away from next-generation standardized tests, this time because of worries about cost.

Oklahoma state superintendent Janet Barresi, in a memo published by Education Week, says the state could save $2 million a year by developing its own test. Similarly, Georgia lawmakers are also concerned about the cost of a online test tied to shared education standards known as Common Core.

The test, known as the Partnership for the Assessment of College and Career Readiness, or PARCC, is being developed by Florida and 21 other states. The tests are designed to be taken online, be more challenging and ask students to perform puzzle-like tasks to answer questions.

(Watch this video for more on the differences between Florida’s current test, the FCAT, and early examples of PARCC questions.)

But Oklahoma announced last week it would not use PARCC and opted to develop its own test.

Barresi cited three big reasons for the decision: Cost; most Oklahoma school districts lacked the bandwidth and technology to handle the online tasks; and a desire to cut the amount of time spent testing.

PARCC will increase the amount of time and number of days Florida students spend testing. According to PARCC guidelines, 11th graders would spend nearly 10 hours testing over five sessions. Schools would have between five and 20 days total to administer the exams.

In Georgia, lawmakers are worried PARCC might exceed the state’s entire $25 million testing budget.

PARCC officials said they will release their final price estimate later this month.

Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett has said he expect to recommend the state’s next standardized test in July or August. While Florida is managing the money for PARCC’s development, Bennett has said the state will consider other options as well. Florida could choose PARCC, a test designed by ACT or other private companies or design its own test.

Florida lawmakers are also concerned school districts might not be ready when PARCC is scheduled for first use in 2015.


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