Putting Education Reform To The Test

Alabama, Kentucky and New York Set Own Course For Common Core Testing

Newtown grafitti / Flickr

Alabama, Kentucky and New York have gone their own way in designing tests for new Common Core State Standards.

Education Commissioner Tony Bennett will update State Board of Education members today on Florida’s progress toward meeting 2014 deadlines for new standards and testing.

Lawmakers have said they are concerned Florida schools won’t have Internet infrastructure or computer equipment ready for the testing, scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015. Bennett has also said states may have trouble agreeing on where to set passing scores on the new exam.

Bennett now says Florida is on schedule and will meet the deadlines. You can watch the State Board of Education meeting here.

But what could a ‘Plan B’ look like? Look to Alabama, Kentucky and New York for examples.

Kentucky designed its own test to assess Common Core standards and administered it for the first time last year. New York also designed its own test, which students are taking for the first time this week.

The other option is Alabama, which withdrew from both the consortia designing new tests in February. Last week the Alabama State Board of Education adopted a test from ACT — the same company which designs the ACT college admission exam — as an alternative to the two tests states are designing.

Officials at The College Board, which oversees the SAT college admission exam, say they will make sure the exam is also tied to Common Core standards.

Two state-led consortia are designing separate tests to measure student knowledge based on Common Core standards. Florida is a member of PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The other exam is known as the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

For the first time, a survey of education insiders by D.C.-based Whiteboard Advisors has found insiders are more pessimistic about the progress of PARCC than Smarter Balanced. About 70 percent of insiders surveys said PARCC was on the “wrong track,” according to survey results released Friday. About two-thirds of insiders said Smarter Balanced was on the wrong track.

Six months ago just 31 percent of those surveyed thought PARCC was on the wrong track.


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