ERIC Number: ED561091
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr
Common Core State Standards Assessments: Challenges and Opportunities
Polikoff, Morgan S.
Center for American Progress
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were created in response to the shortcomings of No Child Left Behind era standards and assessments. Among those failings were the poor quality of content standards and assessments and the variability in content expectations and proficiency targets across states, as well as concerns related to the economic competitiveness of the nation's future workforce. The CCSS in mathematics and ELA were developed in 2009 by governors and chief state school officers in association with educators and researchers. The standards that they drafted were rapidly adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, two state consortia the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC, and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC were created to develop new assessments aligned to the new standards. In general, there is a good deal of enthusiasm for both the CCSS and the assessments forthcoming from the two consortia. Both major teachers' unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, have endorsed the standards, and polls suggest that teachers are generally optimistic about the potential effects of the standards. Researchers have released a number of studies that have indicated that the standards are of higher quality than most of the state standards they replaced,more coherent from grade to grade than prior standards,10 and capture essential mathematics and ELA content.11 While the PARCC and SBAC tests have not yet been released, both consortia are planning several developments, discussed throughout this report, that would represent improvements over prior state achievement tests. Despite the keenness for the CCSS and forthcoming tests, there are a number of likely challenges to the new standards and assessment systems. The purpose of this report is to outline some of these key challenges and offer suggestions for state and federal policymakers to mitigate them. The assessment challenges addressed in this paper pertain to the following seven areas: (1) Higher proficiency levels; (2) Technology upgrades; (3) Computer scoring; (4) Content coverage; (5) Time investments; (6) Validating uses for expanded evaluation; and (7) Rollout coherence. If the standards and assessments are to produce desired improvements in student outcomes, it is essential that policymakers and the developers of the CCSS assessments attend to the seven challenges. This report also offers several recommendations for assessment and accountability systems in the CCSS era.
Descriptors: Common Core State Standards, Educational Legislation, Federal Legislation, Elementary Secondary Education, Educational Quality, Academic Standards, Educational Assessment, Alignment (Education), Cutting Scores, Technology Uses in Education, Computer Assisted Testing, Expenditure per Student, Costs, Scoring, Grading, State Standards, Standardized Tests, Emergent Literacy, Elementary School Students, Reading Tests, Reading Fluency, Academic Achievement, Accountability, Test Construction, Validity, Reliability, National Competency Tests, Educational Policy
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site: http://www.americanprogress.org
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS); National Assessment of Educational Progress