Massachusetts' Two-Year Common Core Path

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS: EdSurge ran a note out on Friday based on a blog that suggested that Massachusetts is "halting" Common Core implementation. That was an overstatement inaccurate: After reviewing the minutes from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, it would be more precise to say that Massachusetts is adopting a two-year implementation plan for Common Core assessment.

In a memo to the board, Commissioner Mitchell Chester (who ironically also chairs the governing board for the PARCC consortium) noted that:

“If we were adhering to the original Race to the Top timetable, spring 2014 would be the final administration of MCAS and PARCC in its entirety would constitute the Commonwealth’s testing program in the 2014/2015 school year. I believe this would be too precipitous a transition."

The longer transition time will let the state compare the assessment programs of PARCC (developed to assess Common Core achievement) and MCAS (the existing Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System). It will also give teachers more time to adjust their curriculum and support a smoother transition. After a two-year pilot, the state Commissioner will recommend, in the fall of 2015, whether to adopt the PARCC assessment as the state testing program.

Here's a copy of the agenda for the board meeting, which has the motion embedded in item 1.

Also, per comments below, here's the state plan for aligning state assessments with the curriculum, which incorporates the Common Core.

Editor's note: Apologies for deleting the previous comments on this piece--it was truly an editorial goof.

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