Assessment Consortia Map

State Participation in the Assessment Consortia

Updated September 28, 2015

The information below covers state participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). Membership and participation in the two assessment consortia have been a moving target since 2011.

As of September 2015, 14 states have formally exited their partnership with either PARCC or SBAC: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana,Maine, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. At least another five states (Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Wyoming), while still formally affiliated with PARCC or SBAC, administered an assessment in addition to or in place of PARCC or SBAC for the 2014-2015 school year. Michigan administered an assessment that contained a hybrid of SBAC and a state-developed assessment items. Mississippi administered PARCC for the 2014-2015 school year but will release a RFP to find a replacement to PARCC for the 2015-2016 school year and beyond. As of mid-June, the Arkansas Department of Education and State Board of Education have competing directives over the renewal of the state’s contract with PARCC.

A handful of organizations, in addition to NCSL, maintain a watch on states’ assessment plans, including changes in vendor choice and whether, how and when states plan to use assessment data for statewide accountability systems, educator evaluation systems, or as a determination of students’ readiness for (a) college or career readiness, (b) receipt of a high school diploma or (c) promotion to the next grade level. EdWeek maintains an interactive map demonstrating each state’s status with the assessment consortia, along with information as to which assessment provide each state will use for the 2014-2015 school year. Achieveas part of its Closing the Expectations Gap series, maintains and updates tables demonstrating states’ grades 3-8 science assessments plans, grades 3-8 math and ELA assessments plans, high school science assessments plans, high school math and ELA assessments and graduation requirements.

Details regarding each state’s official exit out of PARCC or SBAC are provided below:


Alabama State Assessment Director withdrew the state from both testing consortia on February 1, 2013. The state had been an advisory member of both PARCC and SBAC. On April 12, 2013, Alabama became the first state to contract with ACT’s new ACT Aspire assessment system.


Director of Assessment Erik McCormick announced on January 14, 2014 that the state will withdraw from PARCC and instead use the Kansas State University developed assessments from the Assessment and Achievement Institute.


According to a news report, Governor Brewer “canceled Arizona's membership in [PARCC], saying she wants to avoid any appearance of favoritism when the state replaces the annual AIMS test next year.” Governor Brewer’s letter to PARCC cancelling Arizona’s participation in PARCC was also signed by signed by John Huppenthal, Arizona superintendent for public instruction, and Thomas Tyree, Arizona education board president. It seemed possible as of late-2014 that Arizona officials may ultimately chose PARCC as Arizona’s assessment provider, but by May 2015 that possibility vanished.


In a June 8, 2015, press release, the Arkansas Department of Education (DOE) announced: “In light of the recommendation by the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review regarding statewide assessment, the Arkansas DOE will not renew its contract with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers when it expires June 30, 2015, and will pursue negotiating a contract with ACT and ACT Aspire to provide testing services for the 2015-2016 school year.”

* However, four days later on June 11, the Arkansas State Board of Education voted 7-1 to remain with PARCC and extend the state’s contract with the consortium for another year. A spokesperson for the Arkansas DOE told EdWeek that the state had not yet signed a contract extension with PARCC and that “[the DOE is] in consultation with Governor Hutchinson's office about next steps.”


Florida’s status in PARCC remains somewhat unclear, though information from the Fla. Dept. of Educ. seems unequivocal that the state is no longer participating in PARCC but rather has secured a six year $220 million contract with AIR. Media reports (here and here) also indicate that Florida will contract with Utah to rent test items from Utah’s SAGE assessment bank for $5.4 million for the 2014-2015 school year. AIR also is the assessment vendor for Utah’s SAGE assessment.


State Superintendent Dr. John Barge and Governor Nathan Deal announced on June 22, 2013 that the state will withdraw from PARCC and will instead work with the Georgia Department of Education to develop its own assessments.


In 2013, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Bill 1427, which directed the Indiana State Board of Education (SBE) to take no further actions to implement the Common Core State Standards until the SBE conducts a comprehensive evaluation of the Standards. The bill further required the SBE to adopt “College and Career Readiness Educational Standards” by July 1, 2014, and the SBE is in the process of developing those standards now.

Another directive from House Bill 1427 precluded the SBE from requiring the use of PARCC or SBAC as a “College and Careers assessment” until the SBE “receives and considers a fiscal analysis of the costs associated with administering” either assessment. Governor Pence withdrew Indiana from PARCC on July 29, 2013, shortly after the Indiana Office of Management and Budget released the fiscal analysis required under House Bill 1427.

Final action taken by the General Assembly on March 13, 2014, vis-à-vis Senate Bill 91, has essentially reinforced House Bill 1427 and codified Indiana’s departure from the Common Core State Standards Initiative and PARCC. It also directs the SBE to authorize the Department to administer either Indiana’s current assessment or a comparable assessment. It then precludes the SBE from authorizing a new assessment program until it submits the proposed assessment for review before the legislative Budget Committee. Governor Pence is expected to sign Senate Bill 91. A fiscal note attached to Senate Bill 91 is available here.


According to one media report, in December 2013, the Kansas state board of education voted to withdraw its membership in SBAC.


Education Commissioner Terry Holiday, State Board President Roger Marcum and Governor Steven Beshear sent a letter to PARCC on January 30, 2014 withdrawing the state. The Department released an RFP for assessment contracts and selected Pearson.


On June 18, 2014, Governor Jindal issued an executive order withdrawing Louisiana from PARCC. However, on August 19, 2014, a state judge granted a preliminary injunction precluding the executive order from taking effect. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education joined with the State Superintendent in seeking the injunction. Elsewhere, other legal challenges to Louisiana’s use of the Common Core State Standards are making their way through the courts. EdWeek’s Andrew Ujifusa has an excellent interactive timeline detailing these legal challenges.

On June 12, 2015, the legislature sent Governor Jindal House Bill 542, which the Governor indicated he would sign. House Bill 542 curtails Louisiana’s relationship with PARCC by:

  • Prohibiting the state Dept. of Education from contracting with the PARCC consortium for assessments administered pursuant to present law during the 2015-2016 school year;
  • Requiring the Department to contract with another vendor, in accordance with the La. Procurement Code, for assessments for grades three through 10 in English language arts and math for the 2015- 2016 school year; and
  • Limiting assessment questions, to not more than 49.9% that can be based on the blueprint developed through the PARCC process or processes conducted by a federally funded consortium of states or by a consortium of states funded by organizations primarily dedicated to political advocacy.


On June 12, 2015, the legislature passed House Bill 872, which directs the Maine Department of Education to terminate the state's membership in SBAC. The will awaits Governor LePage’s signature.


On June 24, 2014, Governor Snyder signed House Bill 5314, which authorizes state aid to Michigan’s public education system. The bill, under Sec. 104c.,  requires the Michigan Department of Education to “develop for use in the spring of 2014-2015 new Michigan education assessment program (MEAP) assessments” aligned to state standards in English language arts and mathematics. The bill further requires the Department to implement “a summative assessment system that is proven to be valid and reliable for administration to pupils,” per specific provisions enumerated in the bill, in the 2015-2016 school year.

In fulfilling its obligations under House Bill 5314, the Department developed an assessment that includes a combination of SBAC assessment items and items developed by Michigan educators. Department officials told EdWeek that they will field test the Michigan educator-developed assessment items during the 2014-2015 school year; subsequently, students’ responses to those items will not apply toward students’ final assessment scores.

For the reasons mentioned above, it appears unlikely that Michigan will sign an MOU with UCLA, which if signed would allow Michigan to continue the use of SBAC assessment items after the 2014-2015 school year.


On January 16, 2015, the Mississippi Board of Education voted to withdraw from PARCC after the 2014-2015 school year. The Board will issue a RFP in early February 2015 to find a replacement assessment system provider for the 2015-2016 school year and thereafter.


With the enactment of House Bill 2 (2015) Missouri officially withdrew from Smarter Balanced.


When enacted on July 22, 2014, Senate Bill 812 effectively ended North Carolina’s future involvement with SBAC. Among the many provisions contained in the bill, including a provision to create a process to replace the Common Core State Standards, one provision requires the North Carolina State Board of Education (NCSBE) to “report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by July 15, 2015, on the acquisition and implementation of a new assessment instrument or instruments to assess student achievement” on academic standards. The bill also precludes NCSBE from acquiring or implementing an assessment instrument or instruments without prior approval from the legislature.


Section 3301.078 of Ohio’s operating budget for fiscal years 2016-2017 (House Bill 64), contains language precluding state funds from being used to purchase the PARCC assessment. When the bill became effective in the summer of 2015, it essentially withdrawing Ohio from further participation in PARCC.


Superintendent Janet Barresi announced in early July 2013 that that state would withdraw from PARCC and contract with ACT Aspire.


Though Pennsylvania was only an advisory member of both testing consortia, EdWeek reported on June 24, 2013 that “senior officials in both the [SBAC] and the [PARCC] indicated that Pennsylvania has notified them by email that it plans to withdraw.” As of October 2014, neither consortia lists Pennsylvania as a participant.


A turf war over South Carolina’s participation in SBAC has created ambiguity as to which assessment South Carolina will administer in the 2014-2015 school year. Deputy Superintendent Nancy Busbee announced in a letter on April 3, 2014 that South Carolina is leaving the Smarter Balanced assessment consortium, allowing school districts to suspend field testing and await further direction from the Department. Subsequently, SBAC no longer lists South Carolina as a consortium member.

On April 14, 2015, South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais followed up Deputy Superintendent Busbee’s letter with a separate letter to Barry Bolen, chair of the South Carolina State Board of Education, explaining that he held the unilateral power, as superintendent, to exit South Carolina out of its participation in SBAC. Chair Bolen highly disputes Superintendent Zias’ claim, and in an April 30th letter to him explains that, unless pending legislation directs otherwise, the state will administer the SBAC assessment for the 2014-2015 school year.

[UPDATE: May 2014] With the enactment of House Bill 3893 on May 30, 2014, South Carolina has now officially withdrawn from SBAC.

[UPDATE: June 2015] On June 2, 2015, EdWeek reported that a contract between South Carolina and ACT, the assessment provider chosen to replace Smarter Balanced, was voided. “[I]n April [2015], a state procurement-review panel voided the $58 million contract the state had given ACT for its state test. That's left a gap where the 2015-16 statewide English/language arts and math exams should be.”


House Bill 1549 (2014), enacted May 19, 2014, requires Tennessee to administer the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP) tests in English language arts and math in grades 3-11 during the 2014-2015 school year (see SECTION 10 of the bill). The bill also directs the SEA to initiate an RFP process to select a new assessment provider for the 2015-2016 school year, effectively foreclosing PARCC’s presence in Tennessee.


The Utah legislature passed a combination of bills in the 2012 session explicitly authorizing the state to exit SBAC, develop and administer its own assessments, and appropriating the funds to do so. The Utah DOE subsequently contracted with AIR to develop and administer its assessment system.


Sec. 3248 of Assembly Bill 21, signed and enacted in July 2015, contains the following provision:

“The state superintendent shall adopt or approve examinations designed to measure pupil attainment of knowledge and concepts in the 4th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th grades. Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, the state superintendent may not adopt or approve assessments developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.”

This language provides the basis for Wisconsin’s withdrawal from SBAC.

For more information, contact Daniel Thatcher at