Saturday, August 25, 2012

Common core assessment items . . .

Today, I had another opportunity for a conversation about the Common Core with a Renton elementary school teacher.  She is in the initial stages of learning about these new standards and what she must do to prepare her students for the new assessments in 20015.  She understands the importance and need, but is not at a point yet to feel anxiety over the new assessment items.  I believe that as she begins to see the new sample items the anxiety level for her and all teachers will increase.

Implementation of these new standards is another demand being placed on our teachers.  We must respond with the same level of support as teachers begin this work.  Nancy and the Teaching and Learning team are doing this as they review and revise integrated units and our district's literacy curriculum.  Teacher leaders are involved in this effort and are also working with our math coaches to better understand what support will look and sound like for math teachers.

This Education Week article will give you some idea of the rigor in some sample assessment items.  Below is the timeline for the Smarter Balanced Consortium that our state has signed onto.

You can learn more about the test specifications here that also links to some sample items.  I'm concerned about timeline and opportunity to learn for our young people.  We need to embrace this work and engage young people in learning opportunities that prepare them for these new, more rigorous assessment items.  

From the Education Week article.

“What we are starting to see here are tests that really get at a deeper understanding on the part of students, not just superficial knowledge,” said Robert L. Linn, an assessment expert and professor emeritus of education at the University of Colorado at Boulder who reviewed a sampling of the consortia’s materials. “But unless students are really prepared for them, it’s going to be a huge challenge.”

And, a different quote from the article.

In the case of the common assessments, he said, “we’re not talking about a new version of an existing assessment. We’re talking about a revolutionary kind of change,” not only with different kinds of items, but also computer-based or computer-adaptive technology. “What they are trying to do with these items pushes the bounds,” he said. “To get this done in the amount of time they have is going to be a challenge.”

You can find a link to assessment items for all grade levels on this site.  The items are too long to include in this post.

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