LAWRENCEVILLE — Citing ongoing concerns, the Georgia Department of Education on Monday withdrew from a group of states that had joined together to develop the next generation of standardized test.
In a joint statement, state Superintendent John Barge and Gov. Nathan Deal said Georgia would now work with educators across the state and region to create standardized tests aligned with the state’s academic standards in math and English language arts. The group of states, originally 22, has dwindled following the reported withdrawal of Florida, Alabama, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers said it would cost $29.50 per student for computer-based administration of the test.
“We have had some concerns for quite some time but the announcement had more to do with the fact that we had to decide whether or not to field test PARCC items this year,” state DOE spokesman Matt Cardoza said. “That deadline just happened. It is a cost issue for us.”
The PARCC tests in English and math were estimated to cost more than the state spends on its entire testing program.
However the new tests are structured, Barge said it would be developed for students in third grade through high school, be reviewed by Georgia teachers and require less time to administer than the PARCC tests. It would also be offered on a computer and paper.
Gwinnett County Public Schools spokesman Jorge Quintana said this decision doesn’t change what students are going to learn, or the best practices or training teachers learned in staff development this summer.
“We’re going to pay close attention to the DOE, and wait for further details on the next step in plans regarding assessing student achievement,” he said.
Cardoza said parents may have noticed recently that a passage rate was much lower in ninth grade coordinate algebra than other math courses in recent years.
“That’s because of the new test complexity and higher cut score,” he said.
In listing the reasons for the pullout, along with its cost, Barge said many school districts don’t have the equipment or bandwith to administer the test.
Deal said students’ academic performance remains a critical need to ensure that students can compete on equal footing with their peers across the country.
“Georgia can create an equally rigorous measurement without the high costs associated with this particular test,” he said. “Just as we do in all other branches of state government, we can create better value for taxpayers while maintaining the same level of quality.”