Dr. Robert Curry , associate professor and chair, English and Humanities Department  at Alfred State College, has been tapped to represent the State University of New York (SUNY) at the newly formed national project, Partnership for the Assessment of College and Career Readiness (PARCC).
The PARCC coalition has been formed by 26 states across the country, including New York, to create a next-generation assessment system that will ensure that students across the country are expected to meet common, high standards that will prepare them for their futures. States in PARCC have one common goal: building their collective capacity to dramatically increase the rates at which students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and the workplace and provide students, parents, teachers, and policymakers with the tools they need to help students – from grade three through high school – stay on track and graduate prepared.
PARCC has selected Achieve (an independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, DC, that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments and strengthen accountability) to coordinate the work of the Partnership, leveraging that organization's deep experience in educational standards, assessments, and the broader college-and career-ready policy agenda.
Later this month, Achieve will host a higher education and K-12 faculty engagement meeting for governing and participating PARCC states. At this meeting, higher education faculty, high school educators, state assessment leads, and state post-secondary leads will begin the process of identifying the core competencies needed for success in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses. The meeting will allow high school and higher education faculty to discuss and describe key design principles and performance expectations for the high school assessments that will measure college readiness.
Together, the 26 PARCC states educate more than 60 percent of the K-12 students in the United States. The proposed assessment system will be computer based and students will take parts of the assessment at key times during the school year, closer to when they learn the material, rather than waiting for one big test at the end of the year. Teachers and principals will be able to see how students are progressing toward achieving the standards at key points in the school year, allowing them to adjust instructional practices or give extra support to students who need it. Because the assessments will be developed by states in partnership with one another, they will provide a common metric for measuring the performance of their students; for the first time, meeting standards in one state will mean the same thing as in others.
In order to ensure the assessment system is anchored in what it takes to be successful in college and careers, higher education systems and institutions in all PARCC states will participate in the development of the new high school tests. Over 200 higher education institutions, including some of the largest in the country, have agreed to participate. The goal will be for those institutions, and the nearly 1,000 campuses they represent, to honor the results of the new assessments as an indicator of students’ readiness to take first-year credit-bearing courses.
Leaders from Partnership states have spoken out about their participation in PARCC.
New York State Education Commissioner, David M. Steiner noted: “We are working together to develop a system that will utilize performance-based assessments, evaluate what students are learning throughout the academic year, and build end-of-year summative assessments to provide the measures of student growth that states need to support valid accountability systems."
Curry was hired by Alfred State College in 2004 as an assistant professor in the English and Humanities Department where he teaches courses in composition and literature. Prior to joining the Alfred State College faculty, Curry taught at the University of Connecticut.
Curry holds a master of arts in English from Chico State University and a bachelor of arts in creative writing and comparative literature from San Francisco State University. He completed his doctoral work at the University of Connecticut.