PARCC’s Convenient Release of Cost Analysis

Pearson pushed back this week. Reeling from the news that Florida’s top two legislative leaders wanted out of the PARCC testing consortium that are part of Common Core Standards, Pearson, who was awarded the contract for PARCC, released a cost analysis of PARCC. And surprise! It costs less that FCAT. From Jeff Solochek in Gradebook:

When questioning the need to remain in the PARCC testing consortium, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz referred to concerns over cost.

“To date, the cost of the full implementation of PARCC assessment materials is indeterminate, let alone the costs for the technology and professional development infrastructure necessary to effectively administer a valid assessment program,” they wrote July 17 in a letter to commissioner Tony Bennett.

On Monday the consortium issued its cost estimate for its testing: $29.50 per student for the computerized version, with another $3-$4 per student for the paper and pencil test.

“The cost projections for the PARCC tests will continue to be refined over time as the development of the tests continues, including as technology for automated scoring continues to improve since it will be possible to achieve greater cost savings when the scoring of student essays can be automated,” the document states.

FCAT, by comparison, cost Florida $30.59 per student, or $13.37 per scored test in 2011-12, according to the most recent data available from the state Department of Education.

Tony Bennett, the fiscal agent for the PARCC consortium of 21 states, appears to be having a public relations brawl with Weatherford and Gaetz in the newspaper. The two legislators highlighted cost uncertainty as a major concern only to have their point countered by the Bennett-Pearson-PARCC triumvirate with a talking points bulletin that included:

Our country spends on average more than $10,600 a year for every public school student. In the context, $29.50 is very little – about as much as half a tank of gasoline in a family-sized car of dinner for four at the typical fast food restaurant.

It will be interesting to learn if Weatherford and Gaetz feel they were blindsided and are being leveraged by Bennett-Pearson-PARCC. Bennett’s reputation as a corporate go-to guy are at stake. His proposal for a safety net on school grades barely passed the FLBOE. But it  gives him some breathing room on his PARCC recommendation.

Georgia left PARCC yesterday. If Bennett doesn’t save  Florida’s participation in PARCC, a collapse could occur in the testing consortium.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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5 Responses to PARCC’s Convenient Release of Cost Analysis

  1. Sandra says:

    Who are they trying to fool? The full cost means just that…the cost to prepare for its implementation INCLUDING infrastructure AND data collection. Fiscal impact indeterminate? Or the devil in the details? Bring the whole thing into the light. What’s the be afraid of?

  2. You know my prediction.

  3. Missy says:

    It’s still too much! You notice they didn’t put the full cost of testing everybody in their letter, instead choosing to break it down to per-student amounts so it sounded more palatable! Monkeys can see through that tactic.

  4. Laura Gilligan says:

    Could someone please research the laws in Florida to see if Bennett being the fiscal agent is a conflict of interest? I do not understand how a state employee can be the fiscal agent for a private company and that not be considered WRONG!

    • Autumn Moon says:

      Haven’t you heard, most of the Ed reformers are corporate puppets. The nation is literally handing our schools to corporations. Ever heard for-profit charter schools? Follow the money. Our hard earned tax dollars are diverted to these schools whose main function is to answer to share holders….not students.

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