Sunday, April 25, 2010

Common core testing and the current options

The common core standards need to be followed up with aligned assessments, and groups of states are preparing to compete for two $160 million federal grants to develop those assessment methods.  Two large "consortia" of states are preparing to submit applications.  Using information from NGA/CCSSO and Gadfly, here's a summary of the main differences.

The Partnership for for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (with Achieve, Inc., at the helm):
  • Includes Florida, Massachussetts, and Louisiana as "governing states."
  • Plans on multiple choice, open response, writing prompts, and performance events.
  • Aims to have a summative test ready for use in 2014 and have it almost entirely administered on-line by 2016.
  • Can do the initial summative test design within the $160 million, but thinks long-term price will be higher than current state budgets.
  • May have to limit its formative and professional development elements to fit that budget.
  • Wants data that can be used for teacher evaluations.
The SMARTER BALANCED group (with Linda Darling-Hammond on the marquis):
  • Includes West Virginia, Nebraska, and Oregon as  "governing states."
  • Plans on multiple choice, constructed response, writing prompts, performance events and computer simulations
  • Aims to have a summative test ready in 2015.
  • Has intensive plans for formative assessment, teaching tools, and professional development that may take longer to build.
  • Will seek additional funds to do all that work.
  • Promises major teacher involvement in all designs.
  • Uses capital letters in its name that do not appear to be short for anything else.
NGA and CCSSO say they:
  • Wish there could be one team to use the money better.
  • Think that’s not possible with current disagreements.
  • Plan instead to push hard to be sure the competing tests yield results that can easily be compared to one another.
Kentucky is currently involved with both of the major consortia and also with the one group competing for a separate $30 million grant for high school course assessments.

1 comment:

  1. Although the comment you made about the capital letters not meaning anything made me laugh out loud sitting at my desk, in my research on RTTT and Common Core, I created an acronym list and have run across SMARTER before: Summative Multi-State Assessment Resources for Teachers and Educational Researchers. I don't know about BALANCED, but maybe it too has a meaning.


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