Common Core Assessment Preview

I’ve been wondering what assessments based on the Common Core standards might look like, and now there are samples available.  Two groups of states, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (includes Vermont) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers (PARCC), are working on test development.  This article from Education Week includes links to sample test items from both consortia.   I’m working with a slow connection and no printer at the moment, so I’ve only seen a few items, but I’m intrigued so far.

The article is about both Mathematics and English Language Arts assessments.  At a gathering of mathematics educators earlier this week sponsored by the Vermont Department of Education, several people pointed out that elementary school teachers will be moving to the Common Core in both areas, and that there’s some risk that mathematics will play second fiddle, as has happened in the past, at least in these educators’ experience.  Whether or not that’s a substantial risk, it seems worthwhile for math people to pay attention to what’s happening in ELA and look for common ground.  For example, “the greatest departure from current state testing practice is the inclusion of performance tasks, which engage students in more complex, prolonged exercises.”  This applies to both realms, and the ELA example cited in the article is impressive, as is the math one.

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About Priscilla Bremser

Professor of Mathematics Middlebury College
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One Response to Common Core Assessment Preview

  1. Rob Root says:

    I like the Smarter Balance examples better that the PARCC example, and not just because there are several more of them. The prolonged exercise is (part of) a better way to assess student learning in a number of ways. First, just by requiring extended focus on a problem, but also because it incorporates a variety of mode of thinking, and comes close to real QL.

    It is interesting to see the ways people are encouraging teachers to revise their curricula to deal with the CCSSM. Here are a couple that I enjoyed:
    http://hub.mspnet.org/media/data/Scenarios_for_Teaching_Mathematics_K-5.pdf?media_000000007841.pdf
    and
    http://hub.mspnet.org/index.cfm/24649

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