What ‘The Progressive’ Blogger Got Wrong on PARCC and Smarter Balanced

“PARCC’s attack on citizen journalists and public school advocates,” exposes the dangers of “the corporatization of public education,” claims blogger Jonathan Pelto. Pelto makes these claims after a university professor posted copyrighted material from the assessment – and was asked to remove the content from her blog by PARCC.

The entry quotes a fellow blogger, saying, “Test manufacturers are more worried about their proprietary money-making property than they are about making a good test or providing real test results.”

However, contrary to Pelto’s and other’s claims, high-quality assessments provide parents and teachers with one of the best tools to measure student development towards college- and career-readiness. They are not, as the piece suggests, designed for profiteering at the expense of students or teachers.

Testing policies—including decisions about which assessments to use—are set by state and local officials. Many states voluntarily chose to use consortia exams (PARCC and Smarter Balanced) because they do a great job of measuring the core skills students need to graduate high school prepared for college and careers, and because they allow states to compare how well their schools are doing to others across the country.

By implementing high-quality assessments, whether PARCC, Smarter Balanced or other exams aligned to rigorous education standards, most states have begun to provide parents and teachers with more accurate information. An analysis by Achieve this year found 26 states significantly closed their “Honesty Gaps”.

“States have adopted higher standards, states have tests that measure those standards and they’re comparable, so there can be an honest baseline,” Louisiana State Superintendent John White said last fall. “That is a fantastic success for each state and for America and its children.”

It’s important to note, contrary to the claim made by Pelto, Common Core State Standards say nothing about what student information states should collect or how to collect it. If a state were to repeal the Common Core tomorrow, there would be no change to its schools’ data-privacy requirements.

Read yesterday’s blog that sets the record straight on this issue here.