The three-part series of interviews on the nation’s move to Common Core–aligned assessments was as edifying as I could’ve hoped. USED, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced offered meaningful information on the current state of play and clear indications of what’s on the horizon.
I’ve pulled out a “Top Ten Takeaways” from the exchange. Today, we’re posting #10–#6 (they’re in rank order so #1 is most important). Tomorrow, we’ll post #5 - #1.
10. Competition with the testing industry is GAME ON!
In ways subtle and not, the responses sought to differentiate the consortia’s efforts from the testing industry.
It seemed like the Department’s interest was in drawing a line between the old and the new. Why’d they spend $330 million on new tests? Because, USED says, governors and state chiefs asked them to do so.
Why did states make that ask? “Because the market was not meeting their needs.”
According to the feds, the consortia are building “next-generation” tests that “will offer significant improvements directly responsive to the wishes of teachers and other practitioners: they will offer better assessment of critical thinking, through writing and real-world problem solving, and offer more accurate and rapid scoring.”
“We expect the consortia to develop assessment systems that are markedly better than current assessments.”
The implication is that the testing industry had come up short.
SB said its new tests would offer a “quality benefit”; SB’s transparency is “antithetical to the competitive nature of commercial test publishing”; states will now have...