Harder tests are coming to the Buckeye State.
Starting in the 2014-15 school year, Ohio will replace its current K-12 academic standards in math and English language arts, along with the aligned standardized tests, with the Common Core academic standards and their aligned tests. In Ohio, these exams will be the PARCC exams.
The Common Core standards will differ significantly from Ohio’s current academic standards in content, emphases, and cognitive demand. These standards promise greater rigor in what students are expected to learn and how their learning is applied; therefore, we can also expect that the Common Core’s aligned assessments—again, the PARCC exams—will be more difficult.
How much harder should we expect the PARCC exams to be? Take a look for yourself.
Figure 1 shows two sample questions from Ohio’s current seventh-grade math exam. (The Ohio Department of Education provides practice tests, which are accessible via the source link below the figure.) The questions are relatively simple: the first question tests whether a student understands ratios; the second question tests whether a student understands a basic algebraic equation. Although I wouldn’t suggest that the questions are necessarily “easy” (it took me a few minutes to calculate the answers), they are straightforward—and...