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Study Including Teachers of the Year Reveals Favorable Opinions on Common Core Assessments

Study Including Teachers of the Year Reveals Favorable Opinions on Common Core Assessments

A study released from the National Network of State Teachers of the Year asked 23 teachers of the year from across the country to compare Common Core-aligned exams to the tests preceding them and found that most favored the PARCC and Smarter Balance Assessments.

"Teachers in the study also found that the PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests provide more information to help teachers distinguish between moderate and high performing students, an aspect that New Jersey Department of Education officials said prior exams lacked,” said NJ.com.

The study asked teachers to compare the Common Core-aligned exams with previous state exams the assessments replaced.

When looking at a Common Core-aligned test, 70 percent of teachers found that the "test measures an appropriately broad sampling of the ELA/Math knowledge and skills in instruction in an excellent fifth grade classroom,” the study said. Only 33 percent could say the same about the former state exams.

The Common Core-aligned tests were also viewed as a better reflection of teaching and learning practices demonstrated in the classroom.

"No standardized test captures all the activities of a classroom, but the most important skills and knowledge were represented on the consortia tests, and questions were asked in ways that were better aligned to the instructional practices of excellent classrooms than the previous assessments,” the study found.

And despite agreeing that the exams’ content included higher quality standards, most participating teachers found the Common Core-aligned exams to be grade-level appropriate in both depth and range.

While the study indicates some interesting findings on Common Core assessments, it’s important to note some of the study’s shortcomings in arriving at a final conclusion.

"It is important to acknowledge some limitations of this study. First, this was a purposefully small study. Our eligibility criteria for participants (former state teachers of the year or finalists with direct knowledge of 5th grade ELA or math) and the rigorous, deep, and time-consuming review process meant that we only had 23 teachers participate. Second, we focused on the content of the assessments studied, not implementation. Third, our study was not able to take some of the unique features of PARCC and Smarter Balanced fully into account,” the study said.

Read the full study.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

12/23/2015

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