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Current Status of Smarter Balanced and PARCC

45 states and the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands have adopted Common Core State Standards. Puerto Rico and five states have opted out of Common Core: Alaska, Minnesota (which opted out of Math), Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia.

Note: Volatile responses can be expected if dinner party conversation describes the common standards as national.

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) are the two primary testing agencies for Common Core. As states decide which assessments to give or whether to give them at all, EdWeek provides an as close to real time as possible map of who's chosen what. An obvious quandry is that common standards with different measurements might be self-defeating.  

Smarter Balanced states currently include: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

PARCC states currently include: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky (wavering), Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.

Pennsylvania is using both assessments and five other Common Core states are using neither: Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Utah. In fact, 

Both consortia are adding item types that they propose will demonstrate whether students can meet 21st century technology demands. Because Common Core standards are purported to be heavy on critical thinking and performance, assessment item types are also supposed to require higher order thinking skills and performance rather than memorization and repetition. While item types do not an education make, these "new" types have been accorded much ado.

However, most of the items on both tests will be machine scoreable rather than true performance-based items. AI is expensive and for the most part still unable to evaluate the complexity of human language or depth and accuracy of content. It's unclear how either consortium will handle performance items, but spring pilots should give states some idea of what to expect in terms of cost and timeline. Will teachers and students receive the feedback before summer break?  If not, will next year's teachers use the feedback to guide instruction?

Stay tuned. It's going to be a rough ride.

Tags: Common Core, CCSS, PARCC, Smarter Balanced

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