Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Can ACT-Aspire Challenge PARCC on State Assessments

Since the adoption of the Common Core, a primary concern for many educators and parents has been the impending assessments associated with the "national standards." For, if state governors and school chiefs have determined the need for continuity of standards - in case a kid moves states and because all kids are applying to the same colleges - states will need some way to confirm proficiency.

Enter the PARCC Consortium.

PARCC, the Partnership to Assess Readiness for College & Careers (as well as SB, the SmarterBalanced testing group, and also an artificial butter substitute), was commissioned and given a grant of somewhere around $350 million to develop standardized assessments for grades 3-11. It has been, apparently, a monumental undertaking, as seen by the long years it has taken to even get a few samples. Of course, Bill Gates claimed that this new system of accountability would also bring competition to the marketplace to testing.

Enter ACT with a new program designed for grades 3-10 called ACT Aspire, which leads logically to the ACT for 11th graders. The benefit of something like ACT is that it is familiar, and it leads logically to a test that kids and parents understand. It also leads to the only test that kids, parents, and colleges care about. Additionally, ACT Aspire can be given any time during the year, and it can be taken care of for all grades in less than a day. For these reason, among many others, ACT Aspire seems like a reasonable and viable alternative to the PARCC.

Of course, the idea of ACT challenging PARCC is now a moot point, after the huge educational conglomerate Pearson, Inc. won the contract to produce PARCC's tests. Pearson also produces and manages ACT.

So, what now?

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