Garfield Re-2 staff helps shape national assessments |

Garfield Re-2 staff helps shape national assessments

Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Contributed Photo Participating in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers are, from left, Melissa Colsman of the Colorado Department of Education, and Re-2's Larry Brady, director of curriculum, and Brad Ray, assistant superintendent. Not pictured is Julie Knowles, Re-2 director of assessment and special programs.

Recently, Colorado officially joined as a governing member the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). PARCC is a 23-state consortium working together to create next generation tests in English language arts and mathematics and is one of two national consortia that were asked to design an assessment to measure the Common Core State Standards, from which our Colorado Academic Standards were modeled. Three Garfield Re-2 representatives are participating in this national effort.

Colorado has been working with PARCC over the past year, and the decision to become a full governing member will ensure that Colorado has a strong voice in creating the new tests that are slated to launch in Colorado in 2015.

These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students’ progress toward this goal from third grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support.

The Colorado Department of Education created, by special invitation, an Educational Leadership Cadre (ELC) to participate in the process, receive professional development and share information on the implementation and readiness to implement the Common Core State Standards.

The goal of the cadre is to develop a network of K-16 educators that can help lead implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC assessment in Colorado.

The first round of professional development for the cadre occurred in Chicago, and Garfield Re-2 Superintendent Susan Birdsey selected Assistant Superintendent Brad Ray, director of curriculum Larry Brady and Director of assessment and special programs Julie Knowles to represent the district. Garfield Re-2 was the only Western Slope representative and the smallest school district from Colorado represented.

“It was a huge honor to be invited to participate,” said Birdsey. “[CDE] was very selective in their invitations. Being able to participate gave us a firsthand picture on what is happening on the national stage. Garfield Re-2 is positioned very well to lead the move toward a new assessment. I know that Brad, Larry and Julie have the expertise, experience and knowledge to represent our district and the State of Colorado in this process.”

The trip to Chicago to be part of the PARCC process was paid for by PARCC and coordinated with the Colorado Department of Education. The experience provided a view into the emerging world of public education that few districts will get to see.

Other invited Colorado districts include Fountain Fort Carson, Cherry Creek, Jefferson County, Littleton, Denver Public Schools, Thompson, St. Vrain, Academy District 20 and Boulder Valley.

Birdsey added that in addition to helping develop a plan for Colorado to transition to the new assessment, the cadre will be charged with assisting other Colorado school districts with the transition and helping communicate with other districts.

Participation in the ELC is a two-year commitment and will require at least three additional meetings in Chicago, quarterly meetings with the Colorado contingent and additional webinar meetings.

PARCC received a $186 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top assessment competition to support the development and design of the next-generation assessment system.

To prepare for the national launch of the new, innovative assessments, PARCC just released its first set of item and task prototypes. These are designed to give educators and the public a preview of what some of the assessments items may look like. To view the item and task prototypes, visit Additional sample test items will be released over the next two years.

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