As students in the New Orleans area started PARCC testing on March 16, we can’t help but wonder what type of shady foolishness will be cooked up with the results to show alleged growth within these charter schools. But one thing that seems to be going widely unnoticed by parents, teachers, students, administrators and the public alike is that this PARCC testing is a knockoff of the real deal. Louisiana PARCC is the BOBS of the standardized PARCC testing world.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening:
- Two consortia–PARCC and Smarter Balanced–were selected to develop assessments to measure student progress toward college and career readiness.
PARCC states: Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia*, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island
*We understand that the District of Columbia isn’t a state, but for the sake of argument, we’re going to let it slide.
Smarter Balanced states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, U.S. Virgin Islands
In case you’re thinking that it doesn’t look like all 50 states, you’re right. Some states have opted out of Common Core or never adopted the standards in the first place.
- PARCC awarded the contract to develop its assessment to Pearson, a company that is not without flaws.
- According to the PARCC site, the PARCC assessments are “high quality, computer-based K–12 assessments” in Mathematics and ELA (English/Language Arts).
- Pearson, which is the OFFICIAL contractor selected by PARCC to administer the assessments, has an online portal called PearsonAccessNext that is to be used by “school districts participating in the PARCC consortium.”
Still following along? Good! Let’s keep going…
- On the PearsonAccess site, all of the states that are participating in the PARCC consortium are listed. All EXCEPT Louisiana.
Yes, Louisiana is a PARCC state.
Yes, Pearson is the OFFICIAL contractor selected by PARCC.
No, Louisiana isn’t utilizing the OFFICIAL contractor and as such, Louisiana students will NOT be taking “the same” PARCC test that will be administered to students in the other PARCC consortium states, as John White wants us to believe. Instead, Louisiana students will be taking a knockoff test developed by Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), the same folks who have provided the state with LEAP tests all these years. So, if the rest of the students will be taking the official test, what will the knockoff test consist of? Where are the questions coming from? Here’s where it gets murky.
Allegedly, DRC will use questions from a “bank” of “rigorous, nationally standardized college- and career-ready items.” Oh really?
As stated in her blog post here, Mercedes Schneider sums it all up in one neat little quote:
Thus, the DRC questions advertised above are from a bank, but it is DRC’s bank, not a bank that existed previously. Also, it is possible that there is some arrangement between LDOE and DRC to pepper the DRC CCSS questions with token “Louisiana-developed PARCC questions” in White’s effort to contort LDOE’s existing DRC contract into a rigged, faux-PARCC “contract.”
It seems as though Louisiana contracts with DRC for the tests, while DRC, er, “contracts” with Pearson for the questions. Mercedes Schneider beautifully assessed the matter in this blog post. While it’s not quite clear what the arrangement is between Louisiana, DRC and Pearson, what IS clear is that Louisiana students will NOT be taking “the same” test that the students in other PARCC states will be taking. It’s also not clear how these tests will be scored nor how the data will be eventually presented to the public.
Time to wait and see what happens next.