LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday he has accepted a task force’s recommendation that Arkansas’ public schools stop administering tests developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday he has accepted a task force’s recommendation that Arkansas’ public schools stop administering tests developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.


"I have accepted the recommendation of the Common Core Review Council that the state leave PARCC and use the ACT and ACT Aspire, pending state Board of Education approval and a contract agreement with ACT and ACT Aspire," Hutchinson said in a statement issued by his office.


Hutchinson’s office said there is no recommendation on the Common Core State Standards at this time.


PARCC is a multi-state consortium that developed tests aligned with Common Core. Arkansas public schools administered the tests for the first time this year.


Both Common Core and the PARCC tests have been controversial. Hutchinson created the Governor’s Council on Common Core Review earlier this year to study them and make recommendations on whether to keep them, drop them or make changes.


Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, the council’s chairman, told a joint meeting of the House and Senate education committees Monday, "We’re not going to do PARCC anymore. It’s done."


Griffin said the council has been conducting listening sessions and still has three more scheduled, but he said it decided to make its first recommendation now because of a "time crunch." The state’s contract with PARCC is set to expire at the end of this month.


ACT, originally an abbreviation for American College Testing, is known mainly for its college admissions test, but it also offers the ACT Aspire Assessment System, which according to its website is a system of standardized tests "based on the ACT College Readiness Standards and aligned to the Common Core State Standards."


Griffin told lawmakers that ACT Aspire requires less testing time than PARCC; that it is geared toward college readiness; that ACT is well known in Arkansas and across the nation; and that switching from PARCC to ACT Aspire was acceptable to a majority of the review council’s members, including some who favor PARCC and some who oppose it.


Griffin also said that ACT Aspire offers the state some flexibility and is not tied to Common Core "at the granular level."


In an interview, he said the decision to seek a contract with ACT Aspire should not be interpreted as a sign that the state will keep Common Core.


"They are two different decisions," Griffin said. "They are not tied, and you should take anything from this decision regarding the last decision (that will be made)."


State Education Commissioner Johnny Key said in a statement Monday that he will ask the state Board of Education on Thursday to consider approving the transition to ACT and ACT Aspire.


"Our primary goal is for all students to graduate from high school ready to enter either college or a career. We believe ACT and ACT Aspire assessments will be effective tools to measure how well we are meeting that goal," Key said.


Arkansas will still receive PARCC test results for the 2014-15 school year this fall, according to the state Department of Education.


During this year’s regular legislative session, the House approved a bill to end PARCC testing this year, but the provision to end the testing was stripped from the bill in the Senate.


Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle, the bill’s sponsor, said Monday he was "excited" by the governor’s announcement.


"I think the alternative that’s being proposed is one that’s going to allow more classroom instruction and less testing time. PARCC was taking up a lot of time," he said.


Lowery also said he hoped ACT Aspire tests would make Arkansas students better prepared to take the ACT college admissions test.


Rep. Bruce Cozart, R-Hot Springs, chairman of the House Education Committee, said in an interview he believed switching from PARCC to ACT Aspire would be a good move, based on what he has heard.


"I think more people think it’s an easier-to-implement type test," he said.