Louisiana To Try Blend of PARCC and State-Developed Assessments

Louisiana will be a pioneer in the use of PARCC's new flexible model of assessment. The state's Department of Education recently decided to use content from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers to make up just under half of the content for its summative tests in this school year.

For last year's assessments the state used PARCC-produced assessments. This year Louisiana has re-upped with Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), an education testing administration company. DRC has produced the state's high-stakes tests since 1999, according to coverage on news site The Lens.

A new $3.2 million contract runs from October 5, 2015 through June 30, 2016 and stipulates that the company will "create high-quality, Louisiana-specific math and [English language arts] standards-based assessments across K-12 public school."

Under the latest decision the state will blend assessments. To address contention over the use of the Common Core standards and the new consortium-based exams, lawmakers in the state approved bills, one of which stipulated that less than half of the tests may be made up of PARCC-generated questions. Louisiana Web site The Advocate reported that the latest decision is a compromise to quiet the critics of the new consortia-based tests while still leaving enough in the state's assessment to allow for comparison against student results in other states.

Earlier this month, PARCC announced that states would be able to work with custom versions of its online exam contents in the development of their assessments.

"It is great that Louisiana recognizes the value of the PARCC content, which we believe is the highest quality in the country," said Laura Slover, the CEO of Parcc Inc., the non-profit organization that manages the consortium, in a Web site posting. "PARCC governing states have led the development of the content over the last five years. And we are now offering states the flexibility they've asked for in order to expand participation to as many educators and students as possible. Our goal has always been to improve instruction and assessments for all students, so they can reach their fullest potential."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.