At the Colorado State Board of Education’s January 2015 meeting, a bipartisan group of members voted to give local districts more flexibility surrounding the state’s new testing system.
By a 4-3 margin, the Board adopted a motion made by new member Steve Durham to allow districts to apply for waivers from the performance-based PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments. Colorado is transitioning from TCAP tests in 2015 to PARCC assessments.
In 2012 the Colorado legislature failed to provide funding for Colorado to develop its own tests and required the State instead to join one of two testing consortiums, either PARCC or Smarter Balance. The State Board of Education chose to join the PARCC consortium. PARCC has two rounds of tests planned for students in 2015; some in March and again at the end of year in late April thru the end of May.
The State Board of Education, recognizing how over-tested our students have become, voted to allow districts to request not to take the March performance-based assessments. Estimates are that Colorado students will lose more than 2,000,000 (two million) hours of instruction just to take the PARCC performance-based assessments.
At press time, a half-dozen districts, including Jeffco (on a 3-1-1 vote), have passed motions to apply for the waivers, although it is unclear if the waivers legally can be granted. The State Board is awaiting a formal legal opinion they have requested from the Attorney General’s office.