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Rhode Island to Dump PARCC, Use Massachusetts Test Instead

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UPDATED

Rhode Island has decided to dump the PARCC test and use an end-of-year exam designed by its neighbor, Massachusetts, instead. 

The state department of education will use the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, MCAS, in grades 3-8, and the PSAT and SAT in high school, according to a report in the Providence Journal.

UDPATED A spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Department of Education, Megan Geoghegan, told Education Week that the state would make the switch in the 2017-18 school year.

Massachusetts' test is a blend of items from PARCC and its own longtime test, MCAS. (As we've reported in EdWeek's survey of states' assessments, Massachusetts is one of three states that have created summative tests by mixing items from their own tests with items from PARCC or Smarter Balanced.)

State Rep. Gregg Amore, who chairs the House finance committee's education subcommittee, told the Journal that Rhode Island can use Massachusetts' test because it assesses mastery of academic standards that both states use: the common core.

The leader of Rhode Island's superintendents' group said the switch in tests is important politically.

"This is a positive development," Tim Ryan, the executive director of the Rhode Island Association of Superintendents, told the Journal. "The PARCC has become toxic."

Ryan also said he feared that using PARCC could become too costly, since many states have abandoned it for other exams.

When EdWeek surveyed states about thei 2017 testing plans, seven reported plans to use PARCC. Rhode Island's withdrawal means that only six will sustain the cost of test administration. 

PARCC is experiencing flux in its management, too. PARCC Inc., has been managing the consortium of PARCC states, but that contract runs out this spring. Last year, the PARCC governing board issued a solicitation for a new management entity, and received two bids. The consortium is expected announce soon who won that contract.

For more stories on changes in states' required tests, see:

National Testing Landscape Continues to Shift


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