It's been a while since we've had cause to update you on the states' membership in the two big consortia that are designing assessments for the Common Core State Standards. But today there is a bit of news that you consortium-watchers might be interested in: Alabama has withdrawn from both groups.
In an email to EdWeek, the state's assessment director, Gloria Turner, confirmed that Alabama has bowed out of both the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. She said the department of education "has decided to go in another direction," but didn't offer any more detail.
The move wasn't yet official within the two consortia, since the requisite processes haven't yet been completed. The decision leaves PARCC with 22 members and Smarter Balanced with 24.
Alabama, you might recall, has been one of the dwindling number of states that have been playing "participating," or "advisory" roles in each consortium. That means the state has been a part of discussions, but hasn't had voting power. It also hasn't had to choose one or the other group, which a state must do when it becomes a "governing" member of a consortium, with the accompanying voting power.
If you want a refresher on which states belong to which consortia, you can see Smarter Balanced's membership list on its map (with Alabama still included). PARCC's membership list already has dropped Alabama.
As we reported to you last year, there have been some veins of discontent in Alabama about the common core. But Turner said the state is moving ahead to implement the standards.