Estimates are rolling in about the whopper of a price tag behind Common Core’s online testing. Some officials are getting cold feet. Oklahoma (a member of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC) announced recently that the state would not adopt consortium tests. But why? A new article from Benjamin Herold for Education Week explains the reasons, which were revealed this spring from the state’s survey of its 1,773 schools:
Two-thirds of Oklahoma schools did not have an external connection to the internet at least as fast as 50 kilobits per second, per student—a bare-bones threshold just half as fast as the minimum specifications recommended by PARCC.
Half of the state’s schools reported that they did not have the minimum recommended number of computers or other devices need to administer the exams, a figure that worked out to an average student-to-device ratio of roughly 5:1.
Eighty percent of Oklahoma schools did not meet both thresholds.
And the survey didn’t even account for the speed of schools’ internal networks, another factor that would likely inhibit schools’ readiness to deliver all-online assessments in every tested grade.
What about costs here in North Carolina? Estimates indicate online tests from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (of which North Carolina is a governing member) will more than double the cost of current assessments from the state Department of Public Instruction. And that doesn’t even include the costs of technology upgrades.
North Carolina’s State Board of Education will make the decision this fall whether to adopt expensive SBAC tests, so stay tuned. But a testing revolt, in North Carolina and elsewhere, is brewing. I’ve chronicled efforts by parents and legislators to push back in a new Carolina Journal column.