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Is PARCC Out of the Running for Common-Core Testing in Florida?

If you're paying close attention to every twist and turn of the state assessment chronicles, you could be forgiven for concluding that Florida has finally, officially, dumped the PARCC assessment consortium.

New details have emerged suggesting that this is the case, but no one's calling the gravediggers just yet.

In a Jan. 7 story, the Bradenton Herald quoted state department of education spokesman Joe Follick as saying that PARCC "will not be considered" because it didn't submit a formal application along with other companies that responded to an October solicitation (called an "invitation to negotiate," or "ITN," in Florida) to replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT.

But a key part of what Follick said didn't show up in the story. In an email to me, he sent his full quote: "Since PARCC did not submit an application in response to the ITN for Florida's new assessment, they cannot be considered during the ITN evaluation process."

That last part—"during the ITN evaluation process"—is kind of important: It means that while PARCC can't technically be considered an applicant, the state still has the option of choosing it, since procurement rules allow it to choose another testing vendor if the responses to the ITN do not meet its specifications or needs.

The likelihood of that happening, however, given the political realities in the state in recent months, is another matter entirely. Indicators that the Sunshine State would dump the PARCC tests have been gathering for some time (see here, here, and here).

PARCC wasn't allowed to submit a proposal in response to the ITN, since it's funded by Race to the Top money, a PARCC spokeswoman told the Herald. But it submitted information about its offerings and urged the state to consider it along with the other vendors.

Florida's ITN tabulation sheet shows that five companies responded to Florida's solicitation and are now competing for the state's big assessment contract. They are Pearson, ACT, CTB/McGraw-Hill, the American Institutes for Research, and Pennsylvania-based McCann Associates.

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