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Alaska Considering Common Assessments?

Could Alaska use—and possibly help design—the common assessments even though it hasn't adopted the common standards? That was the question raised this week during a meeting of the PARCC governing board in Arlington, Va.

PARCC, you probably already know, is one of two federally funded state consortia that are designing tests for the common standards. To be in such a consortium federal rules require that states have adopted the standards. So it was interesting to hear that Alaska has expressed interest in joining one of the consortia.

This tidbit was part of the report that Laura Slover, PARCC's senior vice president, gave to the board as part of an update on state membership in the consortium. She said Alaska had reached out to both PARCC and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for information about both groups.

The state recently adopted new academic standards, she reported, and although they are not the official set of Common Core State Standards, the state is willing to provide a "crosswalk" showing that they are on a par with the common set that have been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia.

If Alaska does request to join PARCC, it will have to decide whether it is advisable—or even possible, given federal rules—since the state has not adopted the common standards, Slover told the board.

Stay tuned.

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