Come July 2017, UCLA Will No Longer Oversee Smarter Balanced
In February 2016, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) posted a Request for Information (RFI) in which it formally solicited advice on how it should proceed as a Common Core testing consortium.
The result of that PARCC RFI was 128-page response by a number of organizations, which I wrote about here.
One of the suggestions for PARCC’s future concerns its being overseen by the other Common Core consortium, Smarter Balanced. Interestingly, Smarter Balanced, which included its own advice in response to PARCC’s RFI, did not itself offer to oversee PARCC.
What Smarter Balanced offered in its advice for PARCC were details on how Smarter Balanced successfully operated as a consortium.
That is why it is surprising that EdWeek’s Sean Cavanagh reports that Smarter Balanced will be seeking a new fiscal agent. Smarter Balanced has a contract with the University of California system, and UCLA has been serving as the Smarter Balanced fiscal agent. UCLA’s 3-year contract for this role expires on June 30, 2017.
On September 28, 2016, UCLA notified Smarter Balanced to inform the consortium that UCLA was not interested in continuing to oversee Smarter Balanced. Cavanagh reports that Smarter Balanced is in negotiations to seek another university in the University of California system to oversee Smarter Balanced.
UCLA notes that it will continue to “focus on scholarly work and new research in coordination” with Smarter Balanced, but UCLA will not run the consortium.
Of course, the very fact that Smarter Balanced will be transitioning to a new fiscal agent means that its future stability is in question.
So, America, we have two Common Core testing consortia, both of which face questionable stability– which also points to questionable sustainability.
Of course, PARCC and Smarter Balanced both need states as consortium members in order to survive.
It remains to be seen how states will respond to the fact that both PARCC and Smarter Balanced are experiencing their own internal struggles.