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Assessment Consortia: Colorado Makes Its Choice

For many months, we've been tracking states' dating habits. Who's dating whom? And have they become exclusive yet? We're here to tell you that Colorado is engaged.

Before you get excited, let's clear something up: We're talking about assessments here. You remember the assessment consortia, right? They're the two big groups of states that are designing tests for the common standards: the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

When they first got going, a bunch of states decided to date both groups, check them out, get a feel for the tests they had in mind. As things have progressed, though, most states have become monogamous, choosing one consortium or the other, and moving from a less-empowered and less-committed status ("advisory" or "participating" state) to a status that comes with voting power and a promise to use the tests once they're done in 2014-15.

Colorado, which has been one of a dwindling pack of polygamous states, has decided to change its ways and make a commitment. It decided to become a governing member of PARCC.

This is just the latest chapter in Colorado's story of inner conflict about the assessment consortia. Now only three states remain in the polygamous camp (nongoverning members of both consortia): Alabama, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania.

Utah joined five other states in the "no consortium" group recently, when it dropped out of the Smarter Balanced group.

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