By Sarah Garland
Summary by PEN Weekly Newsblast
"The designers of new high-tech standardized tests that a majority of states plan to adopt in two years have offered an advance look at sample questions, writes Sarah Garland in The Hechinger Report. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has posted an English/Language arts question and a math question, and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) has posted a sample question from its third grade assessment and a sample math question from its high school assessment. It has also been revealed that in some questions, which test designers call "computer enhanced," students will be asked to drag words or numbers across the screen, or highlight phrases or sentences in a reading passage. Many questions will continue to be multiple-choice, however, since multiple-choice tests are cheaper to design and score, and answer sheets can be run through a computer. Questions and tests that require writing and research are more expensive and likely require a trained evaluator for scoring, and one of the biggest concerns about the new tests has been how to finance them. The two coalitions designing the tests won federal grants to launch the process, but this funding won't cover ongoing expenses related to the tests, such as paying people to score answer sheets and the cost of new computers and expanded bandwidth."