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States Discover Item Sharing Saves Schools Time, Money

States Discover Item Sharing Saves Schools Time, Money

As states adopt Common Core State Standards in their classrooms, more districts are finding that sharing assessment questions is saving them time and money.

Georgia, for example, "found that its bank of questions for annual student tests was a bit then here and there last year" so, "it turned to Kentucky and borrowed a few", according to an article on EdWeek.org.

According to the article, "Georgia assessment leaders reached out to Kentucky during the 2013-14 school year because they knew that Kentucky had already begun using its new K-PREP test based on the common core. That meant the state had completed the lengthy and expensive process of designing, vetting, and field-testing hundreds of assessment items. Georgia was still developing its Georgia Milestones Assessment, which makes its debut this winter."

"When you are implementing a new assessment system, your [item] bank is not as robust as it is four or five years down the road when you've field-tested more items and have more freedom to put a [test] form together," said Melissa Fincher, Georgia's deputy superintendent for assessment and accountability in the article.

According to the article, "item-sharing isn't brand new. Some states were doing it before they adopted the common core. Even with different academic standards, there was enough commonality of content that states could share some test questions. But testing officials say that sharing the Common Core State Standards—which 43 states and the District of Columbia now do—makes it easier."

"That was always the hurdle on sharing items," said Ken L. Draut, Kentucky's associate commissioner for assessment and accountability. "If you don't have the same standards, it is much harder to link with another state."

Kentucky has one item-sharing agreement with Georgia, and another with Illinois, the article said, and this saves the state "time and money."

"You can't use the same ones over and over. Say you get to the second or third year of a geometry test, and you're running short, and all you need is a few more good items for 7th grade," Mr. Draut said. "It's good to have another place to turn to instead of undertaking a whole development process."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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