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Indiana Curtails Role in Assessment Consortium

UPDATED:

Indiana is not just downgrading its role in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, one of the two state consortia designing tests for the common standards. It wants to withdraw from the group completely.

In a press release today, Gov. Mike Pence said that Indiana would seek to withdraw as a "governing" member of PARCC. This left open the possibility that the state could remain in PARCC as a "participating" member, which takes part in discussions but doesn't vote and doesn't promise to use the tests when they become available in the spring of 2015.

But Pence's spokeswoman, Kara Brooks, confirmed later that the governor wants the state to drop out completely.

Pence said in the press release that the move is consistent with HEA 1427, which he signed in May, and which "curtails the state of Indiana's participation in a consortium such as PARCC."

That bill, as you might remember, calls on the state to do a comprehensive review of the common standards. It also prevents the state board from requiring schools to use PARCC assessments until it considers a legislative committee report examining the standards and tests. That report, according to the bill, is due Nov. 1.

Gov. Pence has written to Mitchell Chester, the chairman of PARCC's governing board. Glenda Ritz, Indiana's superintendent of public instruction, who has said she'd like to see her state develop its own tests, must also write such a letter to make the change.

Consortium rules require the governor, commissioner and state board president to sign the memorandum of understanding to join, so presumably the same three signatures are required for withdrawal. But as my colleague Andrew Ujifusa reported to you, the state board in Indiana, which retains authority over academic standards in the state, has repeated its support for the common core.

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