Arizona is withdrawing from the association of states that is developing the assessment test for Common Core.
Stacey Morley, a lobbyist for the Arizona Department of Education, said the move is to ensure a transparent procurement process in choosing a test that will align with Common Core, not a signal the state is dumping the learning standards, renamed for the state as Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.
Arizona is about to ask for bids for a vendor to provide the test, which will be given for the first time in the 2014-15 school year. One of the possible bidders will be The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.
Arizona has a strong presence in PARCC, including Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, who is on the PARCC Governing Board, and Eileen Klein, Arizona Board of Regents president, who is on the PARCC Advisory Committee on College Readiness.
This year’s 10th graders were the last students to take AIMS, a high stakes test that determines whether a student graduates from high school and was designed to hold schools accountable. Students will not be required to pass the new test to graduate, but it will be used in the state’s A-F grading system for schools and to determine whether a third grader can read well enough to advance to the fourth grade.
Arizona adopted Common Core, a set of standards for math and English, in 2010 and has incrementally implemented them to all grades.
Common Core was a political hot potato in the 2014 Legislature. Conservative lawmakers tried and failed to pass several bills to gut the standards.
Opponents of the standards say they are a nationalization of education, while supporters say they better prepare students for college and work.