State officials announced Georgia is withdrawing from a consortium on creating tests to go with the common core curriculum
State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge and Gov. Nathan Deal said in a released statement that instead of working through the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test development consortium, the state will create standardized tests for Georgia's current academic standards in math and English language arts for grades 3-12. Additionally, Georgia will seek opportunities to collaborate with other states.
Creating the tests in Georgia allows the state to maintain control over its academic standards and student testing, whereas a common assessment would have prevented GaDOE from being able to adjust and rewrite Georgia's standards.
The cost of administering PARCC tests and the technological requirements for PARCS's online tests were also concerns.
The PARCC assessments in English language arts and math are estimated to cost significantly more money than Georgia currently spends on its entire testing program, according to the statement.
"After talking with district superintendents, administrators, teachers, parents, lawmakers and members of many communities, I believe this is the best decision for Georgia's students," Superintendent Barge said. "We must ensure that our assessments provide educators with critical information about student learning and contribute to the work of improving educational opportunities for every student."
Georgia was one of 22 states to join PARCC several years ago with the aim of developing next generation student assessments in mathematics and English language arts by 2014-15.
Superintendent Barge was one of the state school chiefs serving on the governing board for the consortium, but he frequently voiced concerns about the cost of the PARCC assessments.
"Assessing our students' academic performance remains a critical need to ensure that young Georgians can compete on equal footing with their peers throughout the country," Gov. Deal said. "Georgia can create an equally rigorous measurement without the high costs associated with this particular test. 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."
Common Core curriculum has been a controversial topic with some lawmakers and educators saying it's a path to a federal takeover of state education systems.