Arkansas House Votes to Stop Common Core PARCC Testing

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The Arkansas House has voted to stop the administration of testing linked to the federal Common Core education standards.

The bill, which would end participation by the state in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam after June 30, was passed by the House after an 86-1 vote.  It is now on its way to the state Senate.

The exam, which replaced the Arkansas benchmark exam in the state, will still be taken by students this spring.  There has been no word concerning what test would replace the PARCC for future testing.

The current exam used in the state is based on the Common Core standards, a set of English and math benchmarks for each grade level that have been introduced in over 40 states across the nation, including Arkansas. While the standards were created in an effort to ensure high school graduates were ready for college or a career through the creation of national curriculum goals that could easily be compared across the nation, and have received support from the Obama administration, they have been recently attacked by conservatives who feel they are a way for the federal government to intrude on local school systems, writes Andrew Demillo for Arkansas Online.

The test in itself has become highly controversial due to its online administration, reports Max Brantley for The Arkansas Times.

A 16-member task force has been created by Governor Asa Hutchinson in order to review curriculum and assessment issues pertaining to Common Core standards and determine whether or not they are a good fit for the state.  While there have not been any names released yet as to who will be on the task force, it will be made up of educators, parents, business leaders and students.

“The governor does not support automatically renewing the PARCC assessment, and before determining the future on assessments, we want to receive a recommendation from the Council on Common Core Review,” Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said in an email.

The end of the exam in the state does not mean an end to the use of Common Core standards. Representative Mark Lowery, who proposed the legislation, said he does not believe the bill will have an effect on the standards.

“One of the greatest enemies and being able to think outside the box is the status quo, and right now the PARCC test is the status quo … The truth is there are some excellent assessment alternatives that can be looked at,” Lowery said.