The Common Core #10yearchallenge: Only 1 State to Continue Using PARCC Test

common core blog 1

With Instagram’s latest #10yearchallenge and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signing executive orders to abandon the PARCC test, I found it only fitting to do a Common Core version of the challenge.

So, let’s travel down education’s memory lane to 2009 with the state-led effort (48 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia) to design and implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Per the Common Core State Standards Initiative website, “State school chiefs and governors recognized the value of consistent, real-world learning goals and launched this effort to ensure all students, regardless of where they live, are graduating high school prepared for college, career, and life.”


In 2010, Secretary of State Arne Duncan announced that the U.S. Department of Education awarded approximately $330 million in grants to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Because the CCSS were moving all states toward “consistent, real-world learning goals”, we needed consistent assessments to measure said goals. Duncan also contended, “For the first time, it will be possible for parents and schools leaders to assess and compare in detail how students in their state are doing compared to students in other states. That transparency, and the honest dialogue it will create, will drive school reform to a whole new level.”

Logically, it makes sense. As a current Louisianian, if I move to Ohio, I want my child to be able to pick up right where they left off in Louisiana. This means they not only need a common curriculum, but to be taught and assessed at the same level of rigor in both states. I’m in! And, at the time, so were 26 states for PARCC and 31 states for SBAC.shutterstock_206428402Fast forward to today:

  • 5 additional states have rejected Common Core State Standards.
    • Oklahoma, Minnesota, Indiana, South Carolina and Florida have chosen to no longer use CCSS (in addition to Alaska, Texas, Nebraska and Virginia who never adopted the CCSS). This leaves 41 states and the District of Columbia continuing to use the adopted CCSS.
  • Only 1 state will continue to use the full PARCC assessments in the 2019-2020 school year.
    • In January, New Mexico governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, announced that they would no longer be using the PARCC assessment. This means in the 2019-2020 school year, Illinois, along with Washington D.C., will be the sole state (down from the original 26) still using the full PARCC assessment. Other states like Louisiana and Colorado still incorporate some PARCC items in with their own state-designed test items. PARCC is still in business due to their decision to become an item-bank bank company as opposed to a full assessment purchase.
  • 12 states continue to use the Smarter Balanced assessments. They do not offer an “item-bank” license.

Now, after digging a little deeper into states who elected out of CCSS, an analysis from Abt Associates shows that of the nine states they studied, 73.5% of the CCSS Math standards and 77% of the CCSS ELA standards were kept the same. Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, responded to this data with, “A lot of states have simply rebranded the standards, changing the name or slightly tinkering with them without making any great change in substance. That to me suggests that it’s more a political response than anything else.”US MapWhat other state assessments are used across the U.S.? To find out which assessments are used in each state, check out: 50-State Comparison: State Summative Assessments.

meghan thompsonMeghan Thompson joined Teach For America in 2008 and began her career in education as a 9th-12th Special Education Teacher in Charlotte, NC. In 2010, she was a member of the founding team at Henderson Collegiate (a school that has ranked in the top 3.5% of all NC public schools for the past 4 years). In 2014, she was a member of the founding team at Democracy Prep Baton Rouge and throughout her time at DPBR served as a middle school ELA teacher, middle school math teacher and the Middle School Campus Director.

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