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Assessment Consortium Membership Shifts

The assessment-consortium shakeout continues: New Mexico has joined the governing board of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

Joining as a "governing" state means that New Mexico has a voice in the design of the testing system, and commits to using the test once it's ready to go. "Participating" states are in the room, but don't influence test design or promise to use the tests.

That's not just a PARCC thing. The federal government set up those two categories of states when it offered $350 million in Race to the Top money last year to consortia of states to design tests for the common standards. (Those of you who really want to get into the weeds on this, and missed the golden opportunity the first time round, can read the government's "notice inviting applications" for all of its specifications about the consortia and the test design.)

As we've reported, states have been using the "participating" category to be polyamorous, dating both consortia until they decide which one is right for them. Now the fooling around is slowing down, and states are making commitments.

New Mexico was originally signed up with the other state group, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). It dropped out a while back, but now it's made its choice.

That leaves PARCC with 24 states and the District of Columbia, and SMARTER Balanced with 29.

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