So long, PARCC. We mean it this time. Probably.
The announcement last summer to pull out of the PARCC assessment while remaining as a governing state in the consortium was frustrating and confusing. It meant that moving into the first year of testing over the Common Core (2014-15) we have no blueprint for testing. We were told that the SDE would hire a testing company to develop and deploy “PARCC-like items” for the testing cycle that year. All of this was happening in the context of continuing confusion over last year’s testing cycle and the problems with reporting test scores that continue even now.
Then comes this into the email inboxes of superintendents, testing coordinators, and technology directors:
|What:The September 15 data collection for updating school technology resources (broadband and computers) related to online assessment using the Technology Readiness Tool (http://www.techreadiness.net) is cancelled. This is a result of a final decision to withdraw from PARCC completely so we will no longer have access to these resources. I will be sending a message to your superintendents about this as well.Where can you find it:In the current (7/18/13) Accountability at a Glance document, available from https://apps.sde.ok.gov/documents/AccountabilityAtGlance.pdf, the item is on page 7. Please strike this out and remove it from your calendars.More explanation:
Even though earlier this year we opted out of the PARCC tests and instead are issuing our own RFP, we still had the resources of PARCC available. That would allow us to collect data, then upload to CTB’s data collection so that when districts logged in to prepare for this year’s tests, they would already have their data in the system and would just have to verify it. We are working on eliminating overlapping data collection requirements so that districts only have to enter data once.
Last week I found out that the decision had been made to withdraw from PARCC completely and confirmed this week that we will lose access to the TRT. That may mean that the data will be collected using CTB’s data collection tool (RTS) in late October or early November but we may use another method IF it can avoid duplicate data entry. I am also working on how this will affect the annual technology survey – there are a few more bits of information that we are required by law to collect and districts are required by law provide (See 62 O.S. §34.23(D)(1)(b)), but I want to avoid duplicate collection. (Okay – full disclosure – I may not be fully successful in eliminating duplicate data collection but it is definitely an item that I consider in every instance.)
Derrel Fincher, CETL
Director of Learning Technologies
Oklahoma State Department of Education
2500 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Take a minute to let that all sink in. Remind yourself not to shoot the messenger. Ask yourself, are we disappointed not to be a PARCC state anymore?
In 2010, the selling point of the Common Core was that states would have shared standards, assessments, and results. Oklahoma has since repackaged Common Core as the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS – because they don’t run their acronyms by adolescents before marketing them). Oklahoma has pulled out of PARCC in three confusing stages (although their website still lists Oklahoma as a governing state).
I don’t know if we can quantify it, but I wonder how much time has been lost by Oklahoma educators preparing for PARCC. How many trips have been taken to work on developing these tests by SDE and district staff? How much did that cost? How much time has been spent locally determining technology readiness? Can you put a price on people’s time?
Now what do we tell our students, teachers, administrators, and patrons? We have no idea how Common Core will be assessed. We have no idea who will be developing those tests. We have lost three years to this process, and now we have to catch up quickly. In an election year.