States Still Working to Align Tests to Standards, New Map Shows

By Catherine Gewertz — June 16, 2016 1 min read
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You already kinda-sorta knew it, right? It’s taking states a really long time to put college- and career-ready standards into practice in their schools. And it’s taking a while for them to make their tests reflect those standards. But there’s nothing like seeing maps to make the points hit home in all their multicolored glory.

Take a look at this. It’s a map of the year states said that their standards would be fully implemented. The red states are old hands by now; the bluest states newer to the game. (An interactive version of the map is available online.)

It’s true, of course, that deep blue could mean the state wrote new standards, not that it took a really really really long time to implement older ones. But, with that in mind, the map makes it clear that states are very much in the early phases of teaching their college- and career-ready standards in tens of thousands of classrooms all over the country. Many states adopted the common core in 2010, but didn’t report full implementation until five years later.

This new map comes from a relatively new organization that’s tracking states’ standards and assessments. Launched in 2015, the Center on Standards, Alignment, Instruction, and Learning, or C-SAIL, is a collaborative of researchers, led by the University of Pennsylvania’s Andy Porter. It’s supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

In addition to mapping standards, C-SAIL has two other maps for your perusal this week. One reports on what tests states are using in grades 3-8 this year. (Another resource: EdWeek produced an interactive report in March showing what tests states are using in grades 3-11, which states require the SAT or ACT, which use those college-admissions tests for accountability, and which have exit exams.)

Another C-SAIL map shows when states anticipate that their tests will be fully aligned to their academic standards. (An interactive version is available online.) Fewer states show disconnections here (though many would argue that even a “fully aligned” test doesn’t begin to capture what students are learning).

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.