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Common Core Testing Season Finds Fragmented Adoption Among States

Common Core Testing Season Finds Fragmented Adoption Among States

States are heading into their first round of Common Core testing, and schools are finding it a difficult process.

So says Emma Brown, education reporter, in an article on WashingtonPost.com. In her article, Brown looks at how Common Core testing season "has fragmented amid political blowback from parents and conservative lawmakers who criticize the Core as nationalized education and have found the new course material confounding."

"Indiana and Oklahoma have dropped the Core, and four other states are moving to review and potentially replace the standards," Brown wrote. "Lawmakers in other statehouses are taking up anti-Common Core bills as the legislative season gets underway."

According to Brown, "there has been even broader resistance to the common standardized tests."

"In 2010, for example, there were 26 states aligned with the testing consortium known as PARCC, but that has whittled down by more than half: Now only 12 states plus the District plan to give the PARCC exam to students, according to the Council of State School Officers, an organization of state education chiefs," Brown wrote. "Mississippi became the latest state to back out of the PARCC testing consortium this month amid calls from Gov. Phil Bryant [R] to drop the Common Core."

Brown wrote that Smarter Balanced "has seen less attrition, but just 18 states plan to give that test this spring."

"The states that are planning to administer one of the two tests account for about 40 percent of students nationwide, according to an analysis by the trade newspaper Education Week," she wrote. "The remaining 20 states have chosen their own tests, which could make meaningful comparisons difficult. Common Core advocates say they never thought every state would sign on to the standards or that every state would agree to one of the two consortia tests. But they also acknowledge that the fragmentation is not ideal, and they hope more states will decide to return to the fold."

“The real issue is what some of these independent state assessments are going to look like, and I think the jury is still out,” said Gene Wilhoit, the former director of an organization of state schools chiefs who played a key role in promoting the Core.

According to the article, Wilhoit said he had "initially envisioned a much more limited number of tests that would allow for a broad comparison of student performance across many states, providing a national picture of achievement."

"Although it’s not clear how testing will shake out, Wilhoit said he’s confident that the nation’s focus on Common Core will make it impossible for states to slide by with easy tests that make their students look more accomplished than they are," Brown wrote. "That has been an issue since 2002, when the federal No Child Left Behind law established sanctions against schools that failed to meet testing targets."

“I am convinced that whatever comes about will be scrutinized to a degree that no one has ever seen,” Wilhoit said. “I think it’s going to be difficult now for any state to hide.”

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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