Mississippi withdraws from PARCC; what does this mean?

This morning, the State Board of Education voted to withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Testing Consortium, a group of states that worked together to develop a Common Core-aligned test. Some media outlets have erroneously reported that this means that Mississippi has withdrawn from Common Core. That is not true. This move only means that Mississippi will no longer participate in the testing consortium and will choose its own test for future school years. Below are a few facts to keep in mind:

  1. The State Board has to issue a new request for proposals (RFP) to contract for a new test in 2015-2016 due to the Personal Service Contract Review Board (PSCRB) decision that dumped the 3-year PARCC contract. As a result, MS would have been out of PARCC anyway when the new RFP was issued. The State Board decided to go ahead and pull out in advance of the release of the RFP next month.
  2. PARCC will still be administered this spring. Next year, we’ll have whatever test wins the new RFP bid. (Assuming that #4 doesn’t happen.)
  3. PARCC could still bid on the new RFP. They would have to compete against anyone else–Smarter Balanced, ACT Aspire/Quality Core, Renaissance Learning, AIR, etc.–that might bid.
  4. There are a few testing-related bills that have been introduced in the Legislature, including the Speaker’s HB385 which would mandate ACT only and circumvent a new bid process. Mississippi First is tracking these bills carefully and will let you know what moves.

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