Ga.: Common Core test prices too high; we’ll do our own tests


It was less than two months ago that state school Superintendent John Barge told a group of Fayette County residents of his concern with the cost of assessments under the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). That concern led to a July 22 announcement that Georgia would pull out of the 22-state consortium and develop its own assessments while collaborating with other states.

Barge at the June meeting in Fayetteville said the PARCC assessments are separate from Common Core State Standards, adding that he had major concerns with the PARCC-required assessments. One of those concerns is the cost, which would balloon to $56 million for math and English language arts compared to the $25 million for all subject areas today.

“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,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “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.”

Barge maintained Monday that creating the needed tests in Georgia will ensure that state educators maintain control over academic standards and student testing, whereas a common assessment would have prevented the Ga. Dept. of Education (DOE) from being able to adjust and rewrite Georgia’s standards when educators indicate revisions are needed to best serve students.

“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,” 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.”

Barge said the DOE will work with educators across the state to create standardized tests aligned to Georgia’s current academic standards in mathematics and English language arts for elementary, middle and high school students. Additionally, Georgia will seek opportunities to collaborate with other states, he said.

As for the new assessments to be developed, Barge said they will be aligned to math and English language state standards, will be high-quality and rigorous, will be developed for students in grades 3-8 and high school, will be reviewed by Georgia teachers, will require less time to administer than PARCC assessments, will be offered in computer- and paper-based formats and will include a variety of items.

Though some around the state are questioning the Common Core State Standards, those standards are still in place in Georgia and in nearly all states.