All Things Assessment
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Maryland to use much harder #CommonCore #PARCC tests for high school graduation requirement

Maryland to use much harder #CommonCore #PARCC tests for high school graduation requirement | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
Starting next year, students will face tougher requirements to graduate from Maryland's public high schools.

Via Mel Riddile
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Prudence guides wise thinking in deciding when to use new assessments as major indicators of high school success rewarded by graduation. Maryland has multiple ways for students to show their proficiencies. According to the article, "students can still complete a project if they are unable to pass the PARCC tests...." With that decision, Maryland demonstrates a use of common wisdom in understanding that using a single and untested assessment as the gatekeeper of graduation for the state's students lacks a sense of prudence.

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Mel Riddile's curator insight, July 24, 2014 12:08 PM

Maryland is wise to "phase in" the assessments.


The tests, generally given by the time students finish the 10th grade, will be phased in starting with this fall's rising freshmen and sophomores.

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9 Out Of 10 Parents Think Their Kids Are On Grade Level. They're Probably Wrong

9 Out Of 10 Parents Think Their Kids Are On Grade Level. They're Probably Wrong | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

"In a recent survey of public school parents, 90 percent stated that their children were performing on or above grade level in both math and reading. Parents held fast to this sunny belief no matter their own income, education level, race or ethnicity.

 

"The nationally administered test known as the Nation's Report Card, or NAEP, suggests a very different reality. About half of white students are on grade level in math and reading by fourth grade; the percentages are lower for African-Americans and Hispanics."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

There are many reasons to support common standards and common national assessments. Equity is one. If we expect all students to be taught meaningful material and skills in meaningful ways, then standards should be uniform to ensure that happens. And, if we expect all kids to leave high school or any grade prepared to compete with all other kids, then we need to ensure they are learning similar types of skills and knowledge pieces to prepare them for the competition. And that needs to be assessed for their own evaluation of knowlege and quality of education as well as for the tax payers who want and need competitive citizens graduating from schools.

 

When parents "think" their children are on grade level but they have no idea of what that means nor any source of comparison for what grade level means, they are vulnerable to being duped...thinking their children are getting the kind of education they need to be competitive when in reality, their children may be given a watered-down curriculum.

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New U.S. rules for standardized testing have been drafted. Here’s what they mean for kids.

New U.S. rules for standardized testing have been drafted. Here’s what they mean for kids. | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

"What will U.S. Department of Education regulations for implementing the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) mean for educators, parents and students?...ESSA set up a negotiated rulemaking (or “neg reg”) committee to address several issues:

 

  • Students with “the most severe cognitive disabilities”: This draft rule could limit access to alternative assessments for students with disabilities. It also could discourage opting out.
  • District-option high school tests: This rule may make it difficult for districts to use ACT or SAT tests as an option, or it may force the test companies to change their policies regarding accommodations.
  • District-option high school tests: This rule may make it difficult for districts to use ACT or SAT tests as an option, or it may force the test companies to change their policies regarding accommodations.
  • Languages. Finally, ESSA encourages but does not mandate use of state tests in commonly used languages other than English.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

On the whole, the "neg reg" committe is doing good work. I am surprised that only 1% of students with disabilities fall under the alternative assessment option but I understand the strictness of the policy. An aspect of the policy I particularly appreciate is the directive pointed at ACT and SAT in terms of their discrimination against students with IEPs. If all kids are forced to sit through the test and states are paying for all kids to take the test, then that test should be valued as part of a college entrance portfolio if the tested student so desires.

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Common Core and PARCC | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Despite the continued controversy surrounding Common Core, the vast majority of states that originally adopted the standards have chosen to stick with them. But the same can’t be said of several new standards-aligned assessments.
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Will the Common Core Step Up Schools' Focus on Grammar?

Will the Common Core Step Up Schools' Focus on Grammar? | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
To read and understand complex texts, some educators say students will need a deep knowledge of grammar.
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Teaching Higher: Educators' Perspectives on Common Core Implementation

"We matched each teacher to the students they were teaching and assembled data on students’ demographic characteristics, performance on prior state tests, and the averages of such characteristics for the peers in their classroom. We also estimated each teacher’s impact on student performance in the prior school year (2013-14) to use as a control. (We wanted to account for the fact that more effective teachers may choose to use particular textbooks.) After controlling for the measures of student, peer, and teacher influences above, we estimated the variance in student outcomes on the new assessments associated with the textbook used.[ii]

"The textbook effects were substantial, especially in math. In 4th and 5th grade math classrooms, we estimated that a standard deviation in textbook effectiveness was equivalent to .10 standard deviations in achievement at the student level.[iii] That means that if all schools could be persuaded to switch to one of the top quartile textbooks, student achievement would rise overall by roughly .127 student-level standard deviations or an average of 3.6 percentile points. Although it might sound small, such a boost in the average teacher’s effectiveness would be larger than the improvement the typical teacher experiences in their first three years on the job, as they are just learning to teach."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

An important study showing reall statistical effect sizes related to quality textbooks and quality teaching. Read on...

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, March 3, 12:28 PM

An important study showing reall statistical effect sizes related to quality textbooks and quality teaching. Read on...

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Better Tests, Fewer Barriers

New assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards are a step forward in accessibility and accommodation features for students with disabilities and English language learners.
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New Studies Reaffirm PARCC as One of Nation’s Premier Tests

New Studies Reaffirm PARCC as One of Nation’s Premier Tests | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

Two recently released independent studies found the PARCC assessment to be one of the strongest systems to assess student readiness for college and careers. The studies, conducted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute (elementary and middle school) and the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO, high school) are just the latest in a string of independent studies that have found PARCC to be a national leader in quality assessments. PARCC received the highest marks possible for measuring of students’ mastery of English language arts, the highest ratings for measuring vocabulary skills, and highlighted PARCC’s use of evidence-based questions. PARCC also scored highly in many other areas.

“These reports definitively confirm what we’ve been saying for some time – PARCC is the highest-quality, best-in-class assessment available,” said Hanna Skandera, Secretary of Education for the New Mexico Public Education Department and Chair of the PARCC Governing Board. “Since the inception of PARCC, we’ve been committed to giving our parents and schools the information they deserve to help our kids reach their full potential.”

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I have been working with teachers to understand and use the PARCC Framework and PARCC released items as tools to strengthen curricular alignment to the Common Core Standards...and it works. Yes, PARCC is the most aligned to the content and depth, the spirit and letter of the standards. I celebrate the findings of the Fordham Institute with PARCC!!

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, February 13, 5:28 PM

I have been working with teachers to understand and use the PARCC Framework and PARCC released items as tools to strengthen curricular alignment to the Common Core Standards...and it works. Yes, PARCC is the most aligned to the content and depth, the spirit and letter of the standards. I celebrate the findings of the Fordham Institute with PARCC!!

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Will States Swap Standards-Based Tests for SAT, ACT?

Will States Swap Standards-Based Tests for SAT, ACT? | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
An ESSA provision that lets states use college-entrance exams to measure student achievement could spur a profound shift in high school testing.

"The questions are hanging over a provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act that lets states measure high school achievement with college-entrance exams instead of standards-based assessments.

"If many states make that change, it would represent an important national shift in the meaning of high school testing, assessment experts say.

"That's because most states' current tests are based on their academic standards and are built to measure mastery of those standards. Moving to a college-entrance exam such as the SAT or ACT, which are designed to predict the likelihood of students' success in college, would mean that states had chosen instead to measure college readiness."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

With the addition

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, January 7, 3:32 PM

At an Illinois school on Monday, the first day back from holiday break, I was asked by teachers this very same question. Was our state now going to SAT testing for annual achievement assessment. I hadn't heard any such thing...in the past we've been an ACT state, something I have never agreed with in the practice of NCLB compliance. As this article says, these college entrance tests do not asses what high school considers important. Of course, now that ACT and SAT have revamped their own college readiness standards to reflect the Common Core, there may be more validity in their use, but that remains to be determined through years of outcome analysis. Personally and professionally, I believe we need to assess kids on what we teach and what we teach should be standards based. National assessments have a place but not in local evaluation of school success.

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Education myth: American students are over-tested - The Hechinger Report

Education myth: American students are over-tested - The Hechinger Report | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
Andreas Schleicher, an international education expert based in Paris, attended a summit at the White House last month, and left feeling frustrated by the anti-testing backlash in this country. “I listened to several presentations. You got this impression, if they would only get rid of tests, everything would improve,” said Schleicher, who oversees the education and skills …
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I've been around education for many years--as a student (always), as the parent of three children who all graduated from high school and college, and as an educator (for nearly thirty years). There are no more tests in my local school or the schools I've worked with today than there were when I was in school. What has changed is how the assessments are used--and maybe that hasn't changed as much as we think. I remember reading SRA cards and answer questions that I think isn't much different than the AR programs many schools have in place. I will admit, I have been in some schools where testing is over the top--with NWEA and Study Island and all other kinds of monthly assessments to monitor learning. But those schools, in my experience are in the minority--most schools that I spend time with don't have the money to throw at the computer screen. Instead, they use real humans, caring teachers to assess student progress. 

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, December 11, 2015 5:03 PM

I've been around education for many years--as a student (always), as the parent of three children who all graduated from high school and college, and as an educator (for nearly thirty years). There are no more tests in my local school or the schools I've worked with today than there were when I was in school. What has changed is how the assessments are used--and maybe that hasn't changed as much as we think. I remember reading SRA cards and answer questions that I think isn't much different than the AR programs many schools have in place. I will admit, I have been in some schools where testing is over the top--with NWEA and Study Island and all other kinds of monthly assessments to monitor learning. But those schools, in my experience are in the minority--most schools that I spend time with don't have the money to throw at the computer screen. Instead, they use real humans, caring teachers to assess student progress.

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For College Readiness, PARCC is Best

For College Readiness, PARCC is Best | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

"Last year, Janaya, an 11th grade honors student, touted her advanced MCAS score as proof that she did not need further AP English instruction. The truth is that she was not prepared to do the required pre-AP work. She then had a very difficult rest of the year as we undertook longer and more complex fiction and non-fiction reading. What will happen if she experiences that same level of frustration during her first year of college? Will it affect her ability stay in school and earn her degree?

"It's clear to me that passing MCAS does not guarantee college or career success, and the new PARCC test is the best tool to assess my students' college and career readiness. PARCC pushes and prepares students to critically think and demonstrate what they know and understand about core academic subjects and make connections to their world. Without assessments like PARCC that require students to delve beyond surface-level thinking, there is a high probability that college freshmen will struggle.

"PARCC is also the right tool for my highest-needs students. Daymone, a student with dyslexia and ADHD, tackled a PARCC practice test with relative ease. The depth of the PARCC questions helped his learning and thinking process. Instead of picking a random answer, Daymone reviewed his choices and verified his answer with evidence from the text. The fact that his previous testing experiences didn't provide that is testimony to the drawbacks of the basic skills" approach embodied in MCAS. Daymone, no longer daunted by the task of critical thinking and answering text-based questions, is now tackling a 20-page research project."


Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

This article offers specific classroom anecdotes supporting the power of PARCC in addressing teaching and learning. Oftentimes, students with high achievement test scores fail to value the learning of the classroom thinking they are beyond it. More often, students struggle with concepts because they think learning is memorizing facts or regurgitating the teacher's thoughts and words. PARCC changes all of that by asking students to take a position--speak their point-of-view and support that perspective or read a text and explain what the text is saying, not what is already known or imagine how a story might have ended had the situation been different or told through a different lens. PARCC, whether in the written response items or the selected response items, requires students identify the "why" of their thinking. And that, in most classrooms, is new and powerful stuff.


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PARCC Willing To Unbundle Assessments -- THE Journal

PARCC Willing To Unbundle Assessments -- THE Journal | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers will be customizing its online testing offerings to expand its reach into states outside of the consortium.

"The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) will be customizing its online testing offerings to expand its reach into states outside of the consortium. While the current PARCC tests and assessment resources will continue to be available to states, in time for the next school year the new bundling of its Common Core-oriented assessments will also include these options:

  • The current PARCC exams delivered on a Pearson assessment platform that allows states to customize the test and add their own items;
  • The PARCC test blueprint and content but in a form that enables a state or group of states to select their own vendor for administering the testing;
  • Test items available in blocks to let states design their own assessments using PARCC test questions but in a way that also allows them to make state comparisons across those item blocks, assuming the states adhere to agreed-upon rules for test administration; and
  • A freestanding item bank that allows states or vendors bidding for state contracts to purchase individual or sets of test items.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

With these options added, states will be able to confront the issue of local control by designing assessments able to reflect the national normed items as well as locally preferred items.

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Did the Common Core assessments cause the decline in NAEP scores?

Did the Common Core assessments cause the decline in NAEP scores? | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
In a paper for the Evidence Speaks series, Thomas Kane of Harvard University explores why the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam scores from Common Core State Standards and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) that were released last week saw the first drop in math achievement in both fourth grade and eighth grade scores since 1990. He finds that PARCC/SBAC participation only accounts for less than one-third of the decline in scoring.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard much discussion among math experts, both as teachers and as researchers on this topic. Some are "blaming" the NAEP assessment, asserting it is not aligned to the Common Core and therefore, presenting some items with tasks not yet taught. Others are saying that the decline is minimal and shouldn't cause such a stir. And still others are claiming the shifts of standards, measurement, and teaching methods have taken a toll on testing outcomes, a toll that will rebound. At this point, only time will reveal the correlations between shifting standards, varied assessments, and testing outcomes.

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Hundreds of Common Core test questions have just been made public. Can you solve them?

Hundreds of Common Core test questions have just been made public. Can you solve them? | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it


"Curious about the Common Core tests that have generated so much debate and so many low scores in recent months? Now you can check them out yourself.

"The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, has released hundreds of test questions that were given to students in 2015 — roughly equivalent to a full test’s worth for each grade level and subject."


Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Since inception, PARCC has worked transparently with the public. The assessment blueprints were available from the early days and the website offered opportunities for educators and parents to familiarize themselves with the upcoming assessments. PARCC established the educator leader cadre (ELC) as a means of professional development for teachers within participating states. And PARCC invited teachers to assist in establishing cut scores. Today, PARCC continues their invitation to the assessment by sharing items from the actual spring tests. What more could the public ask? Other assessments that have been used by our schools have never opened their windows this wide. Kudos, PARCC.

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ESSA Cheat Sheet: What's in the New Testing Regulations?

ESSA Cheat Sheet: What's in the New Testing Regulations? | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
How Testing Is Supposed to Work in General  
  • States have to test students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school, in math and reading, plus science in certain grade spans.
  • States have to report results separately for boys, girls, English-language learners, students in special education status, different racial groups, poor kids, homeless kids, foster kids, and military-connected kids.
  • All students in the state have to take the same test in each grade, with a couple of exceptions. Also, 8th graders who are taking advanced math classes—like Algebra or Geometry—can take a test at their level, instead of the regular state math test for 8th graders.
  • Tests have to be accessible to English-language learners and students in special education. So if they need accommodations, like extra time, they should get it.
  • Tests don't have to be the fill-in-the-bubble tests everyone complains about. States can include portfolios or big performance tasks as part of the picture. And the tests don't have to be one big, summative test at the end of the year; they can be smaller interim assessments.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

More on how the ESSA will demand of state assessment. This article provdies a bit more detail than one I posted earlier. However, all is still in draft form.

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​How PISA Is Changing to Reflect 21st Century Workforce Needs and Skills (EdSurge News)

​How PISA Is Changing to Reflect 21st Century Workforce Needs and Skills (EdSurge News) | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
First administered in the 2000 to assess the quality of education systems across the world, the PISA (short for Program for International Student Assessment) is currently undergoing significant changes.
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Better Tests, Fewer Barriers

New assessments aligned to college- and career-ready standards are a step forward in accessibility and accommodation features for students with disabilities and English language learners.
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As online Common Core tests fail, Tennessee schools face unknown once again - The Hechinger Report

As online Common Core tests fail, Tennessee schools face unknown once again - The Hechinger Report | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
This is the last in a three-part series focused on how the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and accompanying assessments have impacted Kingsport City Schools. KINGSPORT, Tenn. — It was just after nine on a Monday morning in early February when Lori Smith, the associate principal at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in …
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In the age of Common Core, states are still defining ‘proficient’ differently

In the age of Common Core, states are still defining ‘proficient’ differently | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

"In 2015, more than half the states administered one of two Common Core tests developed with multimillion-dollar grants from the Obama administration. The analysis shows that students in the 11 states (plus D.C.) that administered the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) exam faced a scoring regime that was significantly tougher than students in the 18 states that administered the Smarter Balanced exam.

 

"In math, for example, students who scored proficient — a level 4 out of 5 — on PARCC would also have scored proficient on NAEP, the national test. But scoring proficient on Smarter Balanced’s math test was akin to scoring 'basic' on NAEP.

 

"In language arts, PARCC and Smarter Balanced had lower expectations for proficiency than NAEP, but PARCC’s bar was still significantly higher than Smarter Balanced’s.

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Repeatedly, PARCC assesment is showing real validity and testing strength. Why it is meeeting so much public opposition is a mystery to me.

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Evaluating the Content and Quality of Next Generation Assessments | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Evaluating the Content and Quality of Next Generation Assessments | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

"Evaluating the Content and Quality of Next Generation Assessments examines previously unreleased items from three multi-state tests (ACT Aspire, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced) and one best-in-class state assessment, Massachusetts’ state exam (MCAS), to answer policymakers’ most pressing questions: Do these tests reflect strong content? Are they rigorous? What are their strengths and areas for improvement? No one has ever gotten under the hood of these tests and published an objective third-party review of their content, quality, and rigor. Until now.

"Over the last two years, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, along with two rock-star principal investigators and almost forty equally stellar reviewers used a new methodology designed to answer policymakers’ most pressing questions: Do these tests reflect strong content? Are they rigorous? What are their strengths and areas for improvement?

"As our benchmark, we used the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Criteria for Procuring and Evaluating High-Quality Assessments. We evaluated the summative (end-of-year) assessments in the capstone grades for elementary and middle school (grades 5 and 8). (The Human Resources Research Organization evaluated high-school assessments.)"

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An award-winning teacher explains why PARCC, Smarter Balanced are the kind of tests students should take - The Hechinger Report

An award-winning teacher explains why PARCC, Smarter Balanced are the kind of tests students should take - The Hechinger Report | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
Maryland officials recently released scores from PARCC assessments, which were administered for the first time this spring. The results pulled back the curtain on a tough reality that went unspoken for a long time: When held to levels that reflect what students need to know and be able to do to succeed at high levels …

of learning, far too many of our kids are not where they need to be.

"Only 39 percent of students in grades three through eight met or exceeded proficiency benchmarks in reading, according to the data. In math, just 29 percent of students met proficiency targets. While the numbers are sobering, they provide an honest snapshot of how well prepared students really are when measured to levels that reflect the skills and knowledge young people need today."

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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, January 7, 4:19 PM

We cannot choose assessment based on whether or not we "like" the numerical rankings they show. We must select assessments because they test what we teach in our schools today. If we find that what we are teaching is not being learned, then we--teachers and students--need to go back to school. We need to develop depth of thinking and depth of commitment to learning rather than looking for quick fixes to age-old problems.

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Massachusetts’s Common Core Path

Massachusetts’s Common Core Path | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

The state education commissioner, a parent and two educators weigh in on the tests and the standards.

"As the state elementary and secondary education commissioner, I would like to make clear that neither my recommendation to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education nor the board’s Nov. 17 vote rejected Parcc or the Common Core.

"In fact, both embraced Parcc as part of the future of statewide assessment in Massachusetts. As the article eventually mentions, Massachusetts will remain part of the Parcc consortium and will include Parcc content in our updated statewide assessment."

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

I appreciate that Massachusetts' Education Commissioner is speaking out on this matter. Politics run deep in both spinning and ramrodding perceptions about teaching and testing. There will never be a set of standards or an assessment that all will willingly agree to because too many have too much invested in the outcomes...and by that I don't mean for the good of learners but for their self-interest--in terms of wielding power and acquiring financial leverage. Massachusetts has a positive history of learning growth and educational success among its students. I respect and admire their willingness to stretch and grow further rather than sitting back on laurels.

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Massachusetts’s Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S.

Massachusetts’s Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S. | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
As states have rejected tests tied to the Common Core standards, no about-face has resonated more than that of Massachusetts, known as a leader in education reform.
Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

With the passage of Every Child Succeeds Act, I am wondering where states will go in terms of standards and, therefore, assessments. Of course they must keep the annual tests, but if they drop the Common Core, which is now a possibility, will it all be for naught. In the end, who will suffer the most? Kids.

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Part MCAS, part PARCC: Massachusetts adopts new hybrid exam

Part MCAS, part PARCC: Massachusetts adopts new hybrid exam | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

"After test-driving the PARCC exam for two years, Massachusetts will instead opt for a new hybrid exam beginning in 2017.


“This is going to be one of the most important policy decisions I think any group in the commonwealth will make for many years to come,” Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Chairman Paul Sagan said.


The board voted 8-3 Tuesday to adopt Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester’s proposal to develop a new standardized test that incorporates elements of both PARCC and MCAS. Chester touted the new exam as a “next-generation MCAS” and “MCAS 2.0.”

Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's insight:

Appears that Massachusetts will be the first or among the first to take advantage of PARCC's announcement last week regarding the "unbundling" of the assessment. Combining the best of all that is offered is what we should be about in education. Congratulations!

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Paperless Testing: Most Grade 3-8 Students To Be Assessed Online in 2016

Paperless Testing: Most Grade 3-8 Students To Be Assessed Online in 2016 | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it
This will be the first school year in which most elementary and middle-school students take state-required tests online.
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Fact Sheet: Testing Action Plan | U.S. Department of Education

Fact Sheet: Testing Action Plan | U.S. Department of Education | All Things Assessment | Scoop.it

Principles for Fewer and Smarter Assessments

Assessments must be:

  1. Worth Taking: Testing should be a part of good instruction, not a departure from it. A good assessment is aligned to the content and skills a student is learning, and it requires the same kind of complex work students do in an effective classroom – or in the real world. Assessments should present useful information and questions that push students’ critical thinking skills, so that students gain valuable experience even while taking them. And assessments should provide timely, actionable feedback to students, parents, and educators that can be used to guide instruction and additional supports for students. They should also aid leaders’ decisions to target resources and supports. Assessment should happen only when necessary to accomplish those goals. No standardized test should ever be given solely for educator evaluation.

  2. High Quality: High-quality assessment results in actionable, objective information about student knowledge and skills. Assessment systems should measure student knowledge and skills against state-developed college- and career-ready standards in a way that, as appropriate:
    • Covers the full range of the relevant state standards to ensure a full picture of what students know and can do;
    • Elicits complex student demonstrations or applications of knowledge and skills so that teachers and parents know that students are prepared for the real world;
    • Provides an accurate measure of student achievement for all students, including for high- and low-achieving students, so that all educators have the information they need to provide differentiated supports to students; and
    • Provides an accurate measure of student growth over time to recognize the progress that schools and educators are making to help students succeed.

  3. Time-limited: While it is up to states and districts how to balance instructional time and the need for high-quality assessments, we recommend that states place a cap on the percentage of instructional time students spend taking required statewide standardized assessments to ensure that no child spends more than 2 percent of her classroom time taking these tests. Parents should receive formal notification if their child’s school exceeds this cap and an action plan should be publicly posted to describe the steps the state will take to review and eliminate unnecessary assessments, and come into compliance. States and school districts should carefully consider whether each assessment serves a unique, essential role in ensuring that students are learning. 

    Moreover, low-quality test preparation strategies must be eliminated.  States, districts, and educators should eliminate “drill-and-kill” test prep that is a poor use of students’ and educators’ classroom time.  Students do best on high-quality assessments that actually measure critical thinking and complex skills when they have been exposed to strong instruction, which should be the focus.  Districts should take concrete steps to discourage and limit the amount of test preparation activities.

  4. Fair – and Supportive of Fairness – in Equity in Educational Opportunity: Assessments should be fair, including providing fair measures of student learning for students with disabilities and English learners. Accessibility features and accommodations must level the playing field so tests accurately reflect what students really know and can do. The same assessments of subjects like reading, writing, science, and math should be given consistently statewide, so that teachers and leaders have a clear picture of which students are meeting expectations and which students need additional supports and interventions to succeed. Likewise, policymakers and educators need to know which schools are seeing success with all groups of students, and which schools are struggling and in need of different and greater supports. States and districts should also ensure that assessments are only used for the purposes for which they were intended and designed. Annual statewide tests are an essential part of guiding that support.

  5. Fully Transparent to Students and Parents: States and districts should ensure that every parent gets understandable information about the assessments their students are taking, by providing information to parents on any tests students are required to take, including (1) the purpose, (2) the source of the requirement, (3) when the information about student performance is provided to parents and teachers, (4) how teachers, principals, and district officials use the information about student performance, and (5) how parents can use that information to help their child.  Parents, educators and, as appropriate, students should also get the results of assessments in a timely and understandable manner, to have a shared understanding of how students are doing, and how educators and parents can help them succeed.

  6. Just One of Multiple Measures: Assessments provide critical information about student learning, but no single assessment should ever be the sole factor in making an educational decision about a student, an educator, or a school. Information from sources such as school assignments, portfolios, and projects can help measure a student’s academic performance. In addition, factors including chronic absenteeism, student surveys, and indicators of discipline and school climate can help create a comprehensive understanding of students’ needs and how schools are doing. For educators, observations of practice, student surveys, and contributions to the school community can provide highly valuable information to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of performance, and to help educators strengthen their skills for the benefit of their students.

  7. Tied to Improved Learning: While some tests are for accountability purposes only, the vast majority of assessments should be tools in a broader strategy to improve teaching and learning.  In a well-designed testing strategy, assessment outcomes are not only used to identify what students know, but also inform and guide additional teaching, supports, or interventions that will help students master challenging material.
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