Common Core standards could cost Md. big bucks

WASHINGTON– Maryland is switching to new online standardized tests, but the change comes with a hefty price tag.

According The Baltimore Sun, Maryland’s public schools would have to make $100 million dollars in upgrades to administer the new exams, which are aligned with the new Common Core standards.

The paper quotes from a new Maryland Department of Education report to the General Assembly.

The tests are required by the state by the spring of 2015 and some schools are already claiming they would have to purchase thousands of new computers – and make space for them — to make it happen.

“Some of the data that they showed us raises some concerns,” said Sen. Paul G. Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat and member of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Lawmakers briefed last week are worried about the price tag and difficulty schools would face including buying thousands of new computers.

In March, one classroom in each school in the state will field test the new exams, which are supposed to be more rigorous than the current tests, and are called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The exams will take place over the course of nine days and students will be tested for nearly twice as many hours.

“The big takeaway was that the biggest impediment to making sure that the PARCC tests come off a year from now, without the kind of problems we’ve had with the health exchange website, is too many of the counties are too far behind in investing in their digital infrastructure,” said Sen. James C. Rosapepe, a member of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee whose district includes parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties.

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