Senior Program Associate, English Language Arts/Literacy

Location: Washington, DC
Job Code: 59
# of Openings: 1


Senior Program Associate, English Language Arts/Literacy Assessment


Achieve, a national leader in education reform, is an independent bi-partisan, non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. Achieve believes that all students should graduate from high school ready for college, careers and citizenship.  To support this goal, Achieve serves as the Project Management Partner for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), which is a consortium of 19 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English Language Arts/Literacy and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers.

Achieve seeks highly motivated, intelligent, visionary and passionate individuals who will support its equity agenda to apply for the position of Senior Program Associate, ELA/Literacy for PARCC.  The Senior Program Associate will be responsible for providing the content expertise necessary to ensure that the PARCC ELA/literacy summative assessments and supporting materials for the PARCC assessment system are of high quality and aligned to the Common Core State Standards.


The Senior Advisor’s responsibilities are varied and critical to the success of PARCC the 21 million students in the PARCC states.  The responsibilities fall into three priority areas and include, but are not limited to:

 Assessment and Tool Quality Assurance

  • Provides content support to the PARCC consortium and ensures that PARCC items align to the demands and vision set forth in the Common Core State Standards and the PARCC item specifications;
  • Provides leadership over phase 2 item development, including review meetings and in pre-review activities;
  • Provides internal and external feedback and recommendations on the phase 2 items and associated processes;
  • Provides leadership over ELA/Literacy diagnostic assessments, speaking and listening assessments, and ELA/Literacy K-1 formative tools;
  • Ensures quality assurance plans are effectively implemented across the PARCC assessments and tools;
  • Provides project management support for ELA/Literacy work streams;
  • Coordinates with Achieve’s Meeting Planner to plan and make logistical arrangements (including travel) for meetings (internal and external), conference calls (with states and consultants), briefings, institutes, press events, presentations, speaking engagements, etc. to support the work as necessary;
  • Keeps accurate records of meetings, work products, and key decisions. Assists in the development and maintenance of a data warehousing system and project files for PARCC projects.  Manages and maintains archival records and program files on procedures, specifications, quality-control checklists, and reports of assessment results; and,
  • Develops and presents to a variety internal and external audiences analyses and reports focusing on item quality, item specifications, and policy considerations under tight time constraints and ensures quality and accuracy of final products.

State and Vendor Engagement

  • Facilitates and supports the development of calibration activities with PARCC working groups and PARCC vendors;
  • Organizes and carries out complex mailings and meeting preparations;
  • Establishes and maintains relationships with individuals from states – particularly assessment and content experts -- in relation to PARCC projects.  Serves as a liaison to project consultants and off-site staff as necessary to keep them informed of and engaged in Achieve’s work; and,
  • Facilitates state content leads in the development of the PARCC assessments.

Advocacy and Stakeholder Engagement

  • Engages and serves as an advocate with the ELA/Literacy community regarding the new PARCC assessment, engaging stakeholders and the PARCC Content Technical Working in Mathematics as needed;
  • Serve as spokesperson for Achieve and PARCC in presentations to state and national audiences as requested; and,
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Internal: PARCC team; Content Experts in Mathematics and ELA; Director, Content and Instructional Supports; Director, Summative Assessment Management; Director, Summative Assessment Design

External:  PARCC Operational Working Groups; PARCC contractors; Achieve partner organizations, PARCC states; state and national audiences.  





Bachelor’s degree in English or English education, plus 3-5 years related experience in teaching English Language Arts in a K-12 setting (elementary focus preferred); master’s degree may be substituted for two years.

  • Experience working for a State Department of Education in a related position or working as an item writer or developer with an assessment firm.
  • Background in PARCC assessment development
  • Extensive and deep understanding of the Common Core State Standards in ELA/Literacy and the PARCC design, preferred focus at the elementary level
  • Experience with state or local implementation efforts of the Common Core State Standards
  • Documented experience in large-scale assessment in ELA and/or reading from design stage through operation, experience with Evidence Centered Design preferred
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to execute strategic programs and direction around PARCC’s work in English Language Arts assessment
  • Proven experience in writing or reviewing alignment between standards and assessment items for large scale assessment
  • Strong project management skills and proven ability to successfully manage multiple (often conflicting) priorities and people in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment to achieve results
  • Proven ability to generate and manage project work plans and budgets
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment across a wide range of tasks and responsibilities


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