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State Ed Officials Recommend AIR To Handle New Exams

A committee has made a recommendation on how to replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

The state solicited testing companies to fill the void—and this week a committee recommended choosing exams created by a group called the American Institutes for Research. The Florida Department of Education isn’t releasing the testing proposal submitted by A-I-R until a final decision is made. What that test could look like is also unclear.

Florida was initially supposed to link up with a group of states adopting the Common Core-aligned PARCC exams. But Common Core has been under fire by critics for most of the past year, and Florida has worked to distance itself both from the standards and from the tests. That does not mean PARCC is out of the running all together. The consortium says it couldn’t bid because it’s partly funded with federal dollars, but it did submit information to the state about its exams.  Some have suggested PARCC could still be chosen, but the group that helped design the test, Achieve Inc., isn’t making that assumption.

“It’s still up in the air whether Florida could choose to use PARCC given the criteria they’ve laid out," Achieve spokesman Chad Colby.

Four other organizations submitted bids for the state testing contract: ACT—best known for its college entrance exam, CTB/McGraw-Hill, Pearson and McCann Associates.

Education commissioner Pam Stewart will ultimately choose the new testing company, perhaps as soon as next month. The new tests wouldn’t be used until the 2014-15 school year.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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