State Education Officers Introduce New Testing Options for More States

State Education Officers Introduce New Testing Options for More States
PARCC Governing Board Announces New, Flexible Model to Meet Needs of More States

WASHINGTON (November 12, 2015) – States that make up the Governing Board of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) announced today a change in their offering in response to feedback received from other states.
Hanna Skandera, New Mexico Secretary of Education, speaking on behalf of the PARCC Governing Board said, “The states worked together to develop the highest-quality test the country has ever had. We now want to ensure that as many educators and students as possible can benefit from the work we’ve done.”

Collectively, the Partnership states announced that for the 2016-2017 school year, states will be given new options for accessing high quality testing items. Specifically, today’s announcement includes a new tiered system of product offerings that includes:

The current, complete PARCC offering delivered on the Pearson technology platform; this option includes states’ ability to customize the test and add state developed items;

  • The PARCC test blueprint and content, but with the ability for states – separately or jointly — to select their own vendor to administer the test while maintaining rigorous comparability;
  • Test items available in blocks providing states the ability to design their own tests utilizing sets of PARCC test questions in order to maintain the ability to make state comparisons across those item blocks. In this option, states may choose their own vendor but would need to adhere to agreed-to guidelines on test administration.
  • A freestanding item bank, providing states (or vendors bidding for state contracts) with the ability to purchase individual or sets of test items.

This tiered approach responds to the immediate needs of the states as they enter their next procurement cycle. (See attached for additional information on these new offerings for states.) The Governing Board also announced that additional decisions will be made on the creation of a new entity that would allow for all states to continue to create high quality assessment content
together and offer greater flexibility and greater access to that content for any state seeking to improve their state assessments.

Secretary Skandera further stated, “The consortium of states who worked to develop the PARCC test have always had 3 simple goals: to develop a 21st century, high quality test focused on the skills that matter for success in life, the ability to compare student outcomes across states and to provide honest accurate information to parents and educators that can be used to improve classroom instruction. Together we have developed a world-class product that has been administered to 5 million students across 11 states plus the District of Columbia. Moving forward the flexibility provided by these new options will allow us to respond to our state colleagues and build on a solid foundation and successful track record.”

“Over the course of the last year it has become clear that the states have complex and dynamic needs. They need high quality tests and test items like those found in PARCC. They need flexibility in creating testing products that meet all states’ unique circumstances. And the marketplace for assessments has not yet matured to the point of meeting all of the states’ needs. This announcement is an important step forward in advancing the availability of high-quality tests that will allow comparability across states,” commented Terry Holliday, former Kentucky Education Commissioner and former President of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The current, full PARCC test and other PARCC instructional supports will continue to be available to states.


The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is a consortium of states working together to develop a set of mathematics and English language arts assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in the next academic work and, ultimately, in college and their careers. The PARCC Governing Board established the governance structure for the consortia and they are responsible for the major policy and operational decisions about the design, administration and scoring of the PARCC test. The Governing Board is made up of the education commissioners and superintendents from each PARCC state: Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico and Rhode Island.