Common Core update: designing a common assessment system

Tucked into the corner of the official website for the 48-state standard is a new paper, “Designing Common State Assessment Systems”. Fun tidbits:

States must create coherent assessment systems comprised of multiple integrated components, including a variety of formative assessments that inform, support, and improve classroom instruction, rather than continuing to rely on one annual test to accomplish too many purposes.

The SMARTER BALANCED consortium plans to move very aggressively toward full implementation of online testing using “computer-adaptive” software that selects new test questions based on each student’s own in-test performance and provides immediate results to teachers. This approach allows for a very precise understanding of where students are in relation to grade level expectations. In addition to summative tests, the consortium will develop computer-adaptive mid-year “benchmark” tests and formative assessments that can be administered throughout the year to guide instruction.

Assessments include evidence of actual student performance on challenging tasks that evaluate standards of 21st Century learning. The assessments will be strategically used to evaluate a broad array of skills and competencies and inform progress toward and acquisition of readiness for higher education and multiple work domains. They emphasize deep knowledge of core concepts within and across the disciplines, problem solving, analysis, synthesis, and critical thinking.

There’s plenty more, including comments about an AI system that can assess open-ended questions, so go see the full thing.

(I had to retype the title to this post, where I originally wrote “test” instead of “assessment system”; it’s clear they are taking a wider view of things.)

2 Responses

  1. I can get behind a program that tests our kids in smaller pieces.

    However, not so much behind the computer testing. Until computers can take natural, mathy input, they’re harder to test on than with paper/pencil. Ever try balancing a pad of paper and calculator on a tiny public computer workstation?

    I do like adaptive questioning. *A lot*. Maybe enough to overcome my concerns of taking a math test on a computer.

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