To the Editor:
The recent Commentary “Did the Common Core Kill Classroom Assessment?” (April 15, 2019) brought attention to the need to support teachers in the classroom. Doing so is part of Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s daily work, and we appreciate the author bringing attention to this issue.
As the essay described, states have made important progress by describing the knowledge and skills students need to prepare them for a range of options after high school. However, as with any policy, a successful outcome requires deliberate implementation.
Assessing these standards is complex, but it’s a problem worth solving.
While the author may be correct in his assertion that “today’s standards have effectively put developing aligned classroom assessments out of the reach of practicing educators,” we would similarly argue that most of today’s problems in education aren’t solvable by individuals working by themselves.
In Smarter Balanced states, most educators do not have to develop classroom resources and tools on their own. Working together, educators and Smarter Balanced have helped to produce more than 100 interim assessments that are available throughout the year to check in on students’ progress. And in the fall, we’ll debut more standards-aligned focused interim assessments and formative resources.
In the essay, the author writes, “those who develop summative assessments aligned to more-challenging standards should consider it a professional obligation to also develop tools that educators can use to mirror those challenging approaches in classroom and formative assessments.”
We couldn’t agree more, and that’s exactly what we strive to do as a consortium of states. A significant portion of our work is focused on providing tools and resources to help teachers enhance their classroom instruction. We take the Commentary as a call to action to redouble our efforts to ensure educators across the country have the tools and supports they need.
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
Santa Clara, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the May 01, 2019 edition of Education Week as Testing Consortium Responds: ‘We Couldn’t Agree More’