My state technology director invited me to a State Educational Technology Directors Association meeting this morning before the ISTE Conference kick-off. We got to hear from the Chief Technology Officers of the PARK and SBAC assessment consortiums, both of which will assess student progress toward the Common Core Standards. Depending on which state you live in, either PARC or SBAC will develop your assessment. As Vermont is a Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium state, I listened closely to Brandt Redd, Chief Technology Officer for SBAC. I knew going into this meeting that SBAC was a computer adaptive test, meaning that the computerized test will vary the questions given to a student based on their responses. This is huge as our current state assessment requires all students to take the same grade level test whether they are ready or not. Two new things that I learned about Common Core assessment are:
SBAC will provide states the option of giving students interim assessments during the school year to measure their progress. This will really shift our thinking about standardized testing. We are used to one shot tests for students – we’re talking high stakes testing here. How will it change our thinking and teaching when we can take multiple measures of students progress toward mastering Common Core standards?
While SBAC and PARC will develop the methods and questions for national Common Core assessments, states can still choose individual vendors to develop mechanisms to administer these tests. Why, why, why! This just adds another level of complexity in my mind.
So, I learned something new about the Common Core today but I did not see the animal itself, I did not see examples of Common Core teaching or learning, just assessments that will catch this animal after the fact. My hunt continues tomorrow!