State schools superintendents have banded together to demand that testmakers—and the two consortia building tests for the common standards—adhere to four principles to create “high-quality assessments.”
In a document issued last week, the Council of Chief State School Officers laid out its vision of good tests. It describes how assessment practice should ensure test accessibility and security, and create user-friendly reports that chart students’ progress and provide data that can help guide instruction.
But the bulk of its paper details how tests should reflect the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English/language arts. In math, for instance, it says that good math tests must gauge a balance of concepts, procedures, and applications, and must link math reasoning and practices to its content. In English/language arts, it says that good tests must assess both reading and writing and be based on “a balance” of literature and informational text.
The paper lands as states worry that assessments being designed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, two federally funded state consortia, could cost too much and use up too much instructional time. The CCSSO paper is aimed at urging states to stick by their original vision of good assessment when times get tough. It’s also a lever to pressure test designers to design assessments that truly reflect the common core.