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As Common Core Test Results Roll in, States Confused by What They Mean

As Common Core Test Results Roll In, States Confused by What They Mean

As results from Common Core-aligned tests begin to come in, states are left confused by what the results actually mean in terms of defining student achievement. Though the scores were slightly better than administrators and educators had predicted, they still were largely lower than the kinds of scores states were used to.

"Full or preliminary scores have been released for Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. They all participated in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two groups of states awarded $330 million by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop exams to test students on the Common Core state standards in math and English language arts," according to the Associated Press.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers are the two groups that were given millions of dollars in funding to design the aligned tests, but several states decided to not adopt either test and instead design their own.

As a result, it is an impossible feat to do what the aligned-tests planned to do in the first place: compare scores across states; the tests aligned under the Common Core were designed in hopes of defining a common meaning of success to be used to measure and improve student achievement on a national level.

"U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told state leaders in 2010 that the new tests would 'help put an end to the insidious practice of establishing 50 different goal posts for educational success,'" the AP said.

But even without several states designing their own tests and opting out of PARCC or SBAC tests, it's still difficult to compare scores even between the two government-funded tests.

"Initially, Duncan said the department would ask the two consortia to collaborate and make results comparable. But while the Smarter Balanced test has four achievement levels, the PARCC exam will have five."

And in Connecticut, one of the states that did participate in SBAC assessments and has received test results, it's impossible to compare test scores even across districts.

Superintendent of schools in Fairfield, CT, David Title, called into question the validity of the test scores after a wide gap in scores between the two high schools in his district.

"While his students scored typically higher than the state average there was an unusually huge gap in scores between the two high schools, with Ludlowe scoring much higher than Warde. At Ludlowe, 86.8 percent students passed language arts compared to 67.8 percent passing at Warde. In math, 64.5 percent passed at Ludlowe while 34.6 percent passed at Warde," said The Connecticut Post.

Title, along with many other officials within the state, have called the results meaningless and are across-the-board unsure of how to interpret them. 

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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