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.